On Tuesday, July 26, at 11 a.m., Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International will announce the launch of an innovative health program through a public/private partnership with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and a collaboration with Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics. The SEE International Santa Barbara Vision Care Program Diabetes Screening Program will provide free screenings to patients in Santa Barbara County for the purpose of early intervention and prevention of blindness due to diabetes.
Janet Wolf, Santa Barbara County Supervisor, Dr. Takashi Michael Wada, Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Cynder Sinclair, CEO of Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and a representative of SEE International will be present to introduce the program and its local impact.
“In the United States, a person with diabetes is 25 times more likely to go blind than a non-diabetic,” says Dr. George B. Primbs, MD, FACS, SEE International. “Through our new Diabetes Program, we want to ensure that here in Santa Barbara County, we are catching and treating diabetic retinopathy before it causes blindness. Diabetes is a global epidemic; we are getting ahead of the curve to help our neighbors, our co-workers, everyone in this community as we fight this terrible systemic disease.”
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common eye diseases that may result as a complication of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is often detectable through baseline and early screening with appropriate technology and expertise. People with diabetes are also at higher risk for developing cataracts at an earlier age and at higher risk for glaucoma than non-diabetic adults. Without treatment, all diabetic eye diseases can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.
Established in the late 1980s, SEE International’s Santa Barbara Vision Care Program provides vision care to community members who cannot afford it. The program provides comprehensive vision and glaucoma screenings, eyeglasses – courtesy of the Santa Barbara Eyeglass Factory – medications, eye surgery and now, diabetic retinopathy screening, at no cost to the patient. Patient referrals come from collaborative partnerships with many local organizations including; social service agencies, schools, churches and county clinics.
About SEE International
Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization that provides medical, surgical, and educational services by volunteer ophthalmic surgeons with the primary objective of restoring sight to disadvantaged blind individuals worldwide. www.seeintl.org