Tomah VA’s Teleretinal Imaging. - Tomah VA Medical Center
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Tomah VA Medical Center


Tomah VA’s Teleretinal Imaging.

Tomah VA’s Teleretinal Imaging.

Tomah VA’s Teleretinal Imaging helps improve care for Veterans.

By Mark Cristler, Visual Information Specialist
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Tomah VA’s Teleretinal Imaging helps improve care for Veterans

Tomah VA Medical Center


TOMAH, Wisc. – Providing Veterans the quality compassionate care they have earned and deserve is at the forefront at the Tomah VA Medical Center (VAMC) and its outpatient clinics.  One of the ways Tomah VAMC is providing exceptional care to Veterans is through a telehealth screening called teleretinal imaging. 


Teleretinal imaging uses a special camera to take images of the lining inside the eye.  These images are then sent to Optometry providers to read and assess.  Telehealth services such as teleretinal imaging have become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Providing safe care to our Veterans in locations convenient to them leads to regular use of technology and telehealth services,” said Karen Long, Tomah VAMC acting Director. “We are proudly leveraging our virtual care tools to make sure that our patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time.”


Cynthia Lang, a telehealth technician at Tomah VAMC’s La Crosse outpatient clinic has been certified to complete teleretinal imaging since 2013.


“While most often used for Veterans with diabetes and elevated A1c, teleretinal imaging is expanding nationally to assist in screening for conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration,” said Lang.


In a recent appointment, a Veteran told Lang he had been experiencing a decrease in vision in his right eye for 10 days.  Based on the Veterans history and reported change in vision, Lang knew getting good images would be very important, and she was able to identify a potential issue.   


The images revealed a partially detached retina that required immediate interventions to prevent vision loss.  Through a collaborative team effort with the Veteran’s Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) and Optometrist Anjela Krome, the Veteran was able to be seen quickly by a community provider the same day and receive the care he needed. 


Lang credited the team effort for the ability to address the Veteran’s needs as quickly as possible.


“It is really a team effort with the Veteran to ensure that images captured are of high quality for the reader,” said Lang.  “It isn’t my job to diagnose patients but, through my training, I realized that these images needed to be reviewed quickly.  In my VA career, I have learned to stay calm and take care of the Veteran and that is what I did.”


Long said she is proud of the team.


“We strive to do the right thing for Veterans every day and provide them with exceptional quality and service,” said Long.  “This team’s actions may have positively impacted this Veteran’s quality of life, and that is something they should all be very proud of.”


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