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Re: [IPk] Query DECS

At 28-02-00 11:13 +0000, you wrote:
>Dear Jeremy
>In a couple of mails you have mentioned DECS and opthamologists - at the
>risk of appearing un-informed, could you tell me what a DECS appointment is,
>who I request them from and what they're for ?
>many thanks

Hi Becky,
I'll do my best! What the letters stand for I can never remember but D is 
Digital, decimal or diabetes,   E is eye,  C is control(I don't think so), 
complications or complete (I'm not certain),  S is scan (I'm fairly certain).
What it is is much simpler. They are machines, which first came into action 
about 15 years ago which take very, very close up photographs of the back 
of the eyes. They can be blown up to very large sizes so that a tiny 'spot' 
on the eye can be seen. In the recent past with the introduction of digital 
television the result can be shown on a monitor within seconds - previously 
the photographs had to be developed and you were only told the result if 
something was wrong. Now if a picture is not perfect 2nd, 3rd etc pictures 
can be taken. The new developments also mean that if a tiny bit of the eye 
has been missed they can do it again centering it slightly differently.
The use of the machines is that signs of retinopathy, such as spots or even 
damage to blood vessels can be seen ten years (these are my figures) 
earlier than before. Thus enabling treatment, care or even laser treatment 
to take place very much earlier and withhold (stop?) retinopathy in its 
tracks. It also enables an ophthamologist (think I've got spelling right 
this time) to look closely at specific areas of the eye, where they 
otherwise might miss something.
It can be a bit off putting seeing the inside of one's own eye looking back 
at you on the screen, but it also offers the opportunity to learn more 
about how the eye works.
Currently different health areas have different principles and in some 
parts of the country it can be very difficult to even locate a hospital 
where such scans are done. One thing which the BDA is trying to get done is 
to get a service offered whereby the scans travel around the country (in 
the same way as blood collecting), it would not be difficult to get this 
running and would then make this easily available to all diabetics. The 
scan itself takes only a few minutes, but still requires dilation of the 
eyes, which adds to the time. It is thought that one such scan per year 
could be very beneficial.
One downcoming of the scan is that you learn you eyes are not perfect much 
earlier in life, in each of my eyes they have now found a couple of tiny 
spots (I am very lucky being treated at Guy's), whereas with the testing 
available 15 years ago I would still think my eyes were perfect (although 
my focal distance is shortening, but that is age).
Hope I have not gone on too long or made things more complicated than need be.

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