Brand Story - Oregon Eye Specialists is committed to providing safe and accessible eye exams to help stop vision loss.
The clinic’s new Medical Director, ophthalmologist Dr. Jacqueline Ng, joined the staff in 2015. Prior to that role she was in charge of ensuring compliance with ethical standards of care. Although Ng was new to the position when the pandemic affected operations, she was well-prepared to ensure that patients could be seen safely through social distancing, personal protective measures and telemedicine appointments when appropriate.
High sugar levels associated with diabetes can cause retinopathy or damage to the blood vessels of the eye. “Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans,” Ng says. “In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy people may not experience any symptoms, so it is really important for patients to get their eye exams at least once a year.”
Dr. Jacqueline Ng, Medical Director
Diabetic eye disease increases in likelihood the longer a person has diabetes. Symptoms might include blurry vision, seeing spots or floaters, dark or empty spots in the center or peripheral vision or poor contrast or color vision. The eye doctor will make it a point to discuss any changes in eye health, especially with patients who know they are diabetic.
Diabetic retinopathy can be either non-proliferative or proliferative. In the non-proliferative early stage, blood vessels in the retina are weakened and may swell or leak. In the later proliferative stage, fragile blood vessels begin to grow in the retina, which can cause more serious complications such as retinal detachments and glaucoma.
“We always want to catch this condition early and help our patients manage it,” Ng says. Management includes lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, and ensuring patients follow up with their primary care doctors on sugar control and managing other related health conditions such as high blood pressure.
Oregon Eye Specialists has six locations in the Portland Metro area from inside Providence Professional Plaza in Northeast Portland to Newberg in the Willamette Valley. Ng notes the company has a mix of optometrists, opticians and ophthalmologists including cornea and glaucoma specialists.
Each site has implemented coronavirus-related measures for safety that exceed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Oregon Health Authority guidelines, including plexiglass guards, floor markers for social distancing, increased sanitation and personal protective equipment for staff and patients.
“We’re pre-screening all our patients by phone before they come in to the clinic,” says Ng. “We want to ensure that our patients don’t have any concerns about coming in, and we’ll gather as much data as we can before they arrive.” Ng has drafted comprehensive guidelines that the clinic has distributed to help other providers in the community, and they are also conducting extensive staff training to ensure all staff are familiar and comfortable with policies.
“We’re doing all we can to continue to take good care of our patients, get them ready for treatment and take care of any problems with their eyes; but in a way that they feel safe and comfortable coming in.”
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