Weill Cornell Receives New York City Grant to Enhance Diagnosis and Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
NEW YORK (Sept. 20, 2012) — Weill Cornell Medical College's ophthalmology services for diabetic patients received a boost last month, courtesy of a grant from the New York City Council secured by Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.
The $287,000 capital funding grant, embedded within the fiscal 2013 city budget, will enable Weill Cornell to purchase two pieces of equipment for the Weill Cornell Ophthalmology Clinic — one of the largest outpatient clinics at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. This equipment will help physicians better diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease characterized by damage to the eye's retina.
"More New Yorkers are suffering from diabetes, and I'm proud to help Weill Cornell purchase innovative equipment to help detect and treat this disease," says Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, whose 5th Council District includes the Upper East Side.
Leaders at the Clinic, which has approximately 10,000 low-income Medicaid patient visits annually for the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions, including glaucoma, pediatric retinal disease and macular degeneration, say they are seeing an increasing number of patients affected by diabetic retinopathy due largely to the skyrocketing incidence of diabetes among patients and the general public.
"We extend our deepest gratitude to Councilwoman Lappin and the entire New York City Council for supporting us in the fight against diabetes," says Dr. Donald J. D'Amico, professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College, ophthalmologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and an expert on diabetic retinopathy. "Diabetic retinopathy, although treatable if detected early, remains the number one cause of vision loss in people during their most productive working years. This new equipment will help us prevent that fate for untold numbers of New Yorkers."
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, which is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 20 to 74. In the years 2005 to 2008, 4.2 million people — 28.5 percent of those with diabetes aged 40 years or older — had diabetic retinopathy. Among this group, 655,000 — 4.4 percent of people with diabetes — had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could lead to severe vision loss, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Diabetic retinopathy results when high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the eye. If left undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to retinal detachment, hemorrhaging and other conditions that result in temporary or permanent vision loss.
The city grant will enable Weill Cornell to purchase the Ocular Coherence Tomography scanner, a machine for diagnosis, and a Laser Diode machine to treat the blood vessels. These two pieces of equipment will also be used to increase the Clinic's ability to serve an even greater number of Medicaid patients in a given year and assist physicians in addressing one of the many complications from this growing health problem.
Weill Cornell Medical College
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.