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Alaska Blind Child Discovery

A cooperative, charitable research project to vision screen every preschool Alaskan
 

ABCD Inception

 
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During High School, Robert Arnold was introduced to ophthalmology by hisinternist father's (John Arnold) colleagues John Hodge and Don Anderson in Bellingham, Washington. During his first year of college at University of Washington, Arnold wrote a lengthy honors paper on intraocular lenses for cataract rehabilitation... and he got a "B." In the subsequent three college years at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Arnold emphasized chemistry and physiology. After medical school at Yale, Arnold developed a keen interest in pediatric ophthalmology from Drs. John Dyer and George "Bud" Hohberger. During the pediatric fellowship at Indiana University with mentor doctors Gene Helveston, Daryel Ellis and David Plager, Arnold became intrigued with detecting small angle strabismus with the Brückner Test. After starting practice in Anchorage with Ophthalmic Associates in Fall 1989, Arnold started modifying the Bruckner Test to include more refractive error detection and pupil relfex testing resulting in an Alaska medicine article. In 1995, spurred on by colleague Howard Freedman, Arnold bought the first two MTI photoscreners and presented them to pediatricians, public health nurses and eye doctors. Only the public health nurses, and later the charities (Shriners, Lions, Kiwanas) purchased more up to a total of 18. ABCD launched the Gold phase in 1998. Arnold and his optometrist colleage, Lynn Coon refined referral criteria, and remained baffled that insurances still did not reimburse primary care to utilize this technology. ABCD screening clinics include urban communities of Anchorage, MatSu and Fairbanks and many remote villages including the Koyukon Region.
 
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