La Red receives $20K grant to screen patients for diabetic-related blindness

February 21, 2024

La Red Health Center has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Delaware Community Foundation to purchase equipment that will allow patients to be screened for diabetic-related blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, affecting an estimated 4.1 million working-age adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once someone develops the disease, it cannot be reversed. Early detection and interventions are key to saving people’s sight.

At 13.2%, Sussex County has the highest prevalence of diabetes in Delaware, making its residents more vulnerable to developing diabetic-related blindness.

Routine screenings are key to preventing vision loss. According to the National Institutes of Health, Black and Hispanic diabetic patients are two to three times more likely to develop serious complications from diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy. They also are less likely to have their vision screened on a routine basis due to lack of access to affordable care.

With funding from the Delaware Community Foundation, La Red Health Center will address this barrier by purchasing a diabetic retinopathy machine for its Georgetown office. La Red will screen patients on-site and contract with an optometrist who will review the results and advise on patient care.

Diabetic patients from La Red’s Milford and Seaford offices can access screenings at the Georgetown location by coordinating transportation with La Red’s Community Health Outreach team.

La Red intends to raise additional funds to purchase diabetic retinopathy machines for its offices in Milford and Seaford.

“Part of La Red’s mission is to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities in our community by offering care to those who are uninsured or underinsured,” said Rachel Hersh, La Red Health Center deputy director. “La Red’s ability to offer diabetic retinopathy screenings is an extension of that mission. It will reduce the risk of preventable blindness for our patients, many of whom are Black and Hispanic.”

The mission of the Delaware Community Foundation is to improve the lives of the people of Delaware by empowering and growing philanthropy through knowledge and relationships, now and in the future. As a facilitator, information resource and manager of charitable funds, DCF helps communities and philanthropists focus charitable resources for the greatest community benefit statewide. Learn more at

“We are grateful for the generosity of the Delaware Community Foundation, whose funding is making it possible for La Red to add this life-changing service for our patients,” said Brian Olson, La Red CEO. “This funding will allow La Red to establish a program that will preserve people’s vision and quality of life.”

La Red Health Center, a federally qualified health center in Sussex County, has provided quality healthcare for individuals and families since 2001. La Red is committed to ensuring the highest level of care for all individuals and families. La Red offers primary healthcare, pediatrics, women’s health services and behavioral health services at its three locations in Milford, Seaford and Georgetown. La Red also offers dental services at its Milford and Georgetown locations. For more information, go to


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter