Waiting times slashed after Mt Lawley student clinic opens

Dianella resident Maggie Zohar with nursing student Nestar Chigadza at the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Clinic. Picture: Supplied.
Dianella resident Maggie Zohar with nursing student Nestar Chigadza at the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Clinic. Picture: Supplied.

APPOINTMENT waiting times for diabetes patients at risk of blindness have been slashed after a student clinic opened in Mt Lawley.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 64, and North Metropolitan TAFE nursing students and staff have been running a screening clinic to combat it in association with Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) for the past four years.

Before the clinic opened, patients were waiting over 12 months for an appointment.

They can now be seen as quickly and as regularly as required by their physician, and over 2500 patients have been through the clinic doors.

TAFE clinical educator Judy Fetzer said after getting a patient’s medical history a student then conducts an eye exam.

“Supervised by a registered nurse, the student applies eye drops to dilate the patient’s pupils and completes a health check, recording blood glucose levels, temperature, pulse, respirations, oxygen saturation, blood pressure and waist measurement,” she said.

“Once the eye drops take effect, a technician takes several retinal photographs which are sent to RPH for examination by an appropriate clinician.”

Dianella resident Maggie Zohar has been diabetic for over 30 years, and regularly attends the clinic for screening.

“I know people who have become blind from diabetes, so it’s very important to get my eyes checked,” the 71-year-old said.

For more information on the clinic, visit northmetrotafe.wa.edu.au/reach.

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