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Screening Clinic provides preventative care

North Metropolitan TAFE (NMTAFE) in collaboration with Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) is helping combat diabetic retinopathy (the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 64) whilst providing students with a unique real-life experience during their studies.

  • The RPH Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Clinic is part of NMTAFE’s Roaming Education and Community Health (REACH) initiative and is operated by nursing students and staff at the Mt Lawley campus.
  • RPH refers patients with diabetes to the clinic every one to two years so that any damage can be picked up, treated and monitored
  • Servicing 2,500 patients over the last four years, the clinic has dramatically reduced the wait time for patients and ensures their condition is monitored in a more pro-active manner.

71-year old Maggie Zohar from Dianella who has been diabetic for over 30 years regularly attends the Mt Lawley clinic for screening. “I know people who have become blind from diabetes so it is very important to get my eyes checked,” said Maggie.REACH_RPH_Diabetic_Clinic_Pulse.jpg

Diabetic retinopathy affects up to 80% of those who have had diabetes for 20-years or more and at least 90% of new cases could be reduced with proper treatment and monitoring of the eyes.

NMTAFE Clinical Educator Judy Fetzer explains that after obtaining a patient’s medical history, a student conducts a visual acuity test (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.”

Before the clinic was operational, patients had to wait over 12-months to get an appointment.  Now they can be seen as quickly and as regularly as required by their physician.

Additionally patients have reported that getting to the clinic in Mt Lawley is easier and less stressful as there is ample free parking and a much faster service can be provided. 


For further information, readers can contact REACH REACH_RPH_Diabetic_Clinic_Eyetest.jpg

Page last updated June 10, 2019