Organizations Team Up to Provide Eye Health Resources

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The 2008 American Public Health Association's Annual Meeting is providing a special opportunity for attendees to learn about the importance of eye health.

The 2008 American Public Health Association's Annual Meeting is providing a special opportunity for attendees to learn about the importance of eye health. A 40-ft mobile eye care clinic will be parked in the exhibit hall for visitors to tour, see the latest optometric technology and find out why eye exams are so valuable in detecting underlying problems such as diabetic retinopathy.

The VSP® Vision Care Mobile Eye Care Clinic is made possible by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors' Vision and Eye Health Work Group, in collaboration with its partners VSP Vision Care, the American Optometric Association and Prevent Blindness America. The VSP Vision Care Mobile Eye Care Clinic will be in the exhibit hall and open for tours from October 26 - 29. This collaborative event demonstrates how partnerships between organizations with similar goals can foster eye health, even in times of financial stress.

"Vision loss has been gaining attention as a public health issue for some time," said Chris Maylahn, Chair of the Vision and Eye Health Work Group. "We hope that this exhibit, and continued research in this area, will encourage public health professionals to promote vision health and motivate the general public to get needed eye exams."

Quick Facts About Eye Health

  • Blindness and visual impairment are among the 10 most common causes of disability in the United States.
  • An eye exam provides a clear view of the blood vessels, which can reveal early signs of serious conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Forty-five percent of adults do not get regular eye exams that would help detect these problems.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of adult blindness. In 2007, 23.6 million people were estimated to have diabetes, representing more than 7% percent of the U.S. population.
  • An aging population is at an increased risk for age-related eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) is a national public health association for chronic disease program directors of each state and U.S. territory. The NACDD works to reduce the impact of chronic diseases on the American population by advocating for preventative policies and programs, encouraging sharing of knowledge and developing partnerships for health promotion. (http://www.chronicdisease.org).

The Vision & Eye Health Work Group is a disease-specific subgroup of the NACDD. It was convened to provide enhanced eye health leadership, expertise, and surveillance at the state and national level.

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