Medical screening is a tool used to rule out disease or catch it early. Many types of screenings, such as colon cancer screenings beginning at age 50, are a covered insurance benefit in most cases. Other screenings are a low-cost private pay way for a patient to screen themselves for potential problems. Many hospitals offer low-cost heart screenings that offer advanced technology as a tool for individuals to get more information about their risk for a disease.

And while the trend toward preventive medicine will inevitably include a wide array of screening strategies, this more modern model of medicine will still have to earn its stripes compared to traditional models.

Screening tests often incorporate advanced technology. They have to be sensitive and specific enough to “predict” disease. This kind of advancement is expensive. While the cost of an optional screening rarely covers the cost of the device used, medical organizations view these screening efforts as a way to provide a public service, bring the technology to the community and find those with a disease so they can be treated. After all, the best test in the world will not help anyone if financial and accessibility barriers prevent the masses from being tested in the first place.

Advanced technology eye screenings in conjunction with an eye exam have become more prevalent as well. Basically, these technologies have in many cases become the best way to be perfectly certain there are no diseases of the eye that need to be identified.

If you have a question concerning your eyes, ask Dr. Picken directly by emailing him at

Dr. Jace Picken is an optometrist at Prairie Vision Center in Wahpeton

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