Eyecare America Offers Eye Exams at No Out-Of-Pocket Cost This May in Honor of Healthy Vision Month and Mother’s Day; Early Detection is Key, as New Study Reveals More than 10 percent of People in 60s at Risk for Blindness

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Did you know that 63 percent of consumers buy fresh flowers for Mother’s Day? Well, this year, everyone can also give their mothers over age 65 something that will last even longer, and for free: the gift of healthy sight. Personalizable Mother’s Day cards will be available to print out from eyecareamerica.org, with full information about what EyeCare America offers for seniors.

Did you know that 63 percent of consumers buy fresh flowers for Mother’s Day? Well, this year, everyone can also give their mothers over age 65 something that will last even longer, and for free: the gift of healthy sight. Personalizable Mother’s Day cards will be available to print out from eyecareamerica.org, with full information about what EyeCare America offers for seniors.

In honor of Mother’s Day and the National Eye Institute’s Healthy Vision Month, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provides eye exams at no out-of-pocket cost to people age 65 and older and offers free educational materials. The eye exams are provided by a corps of nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Those interested in the program can visit http://www.eyecareamerica.org to see if they are eligible. The organization’s online referral center also enables friends and family members to find out instantly if their loved ones are eligible to be matched with an EyeCare America volunteer ophthalmologist.

Eye Care: The Earlier, the Better
By age 65, one in three Americans has some form of vision-limiting eye disease, such as cataract, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. And a December 2010 study shows that more than 10 percent of people in their 60s and nearly 25 percent of people in their 70s have an early form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness. However, through early detection and medical care, the majority of these cases can be prevented or corrected.

“Thank you so very much,” said an EyeCare America patient from Denver, Colorado. “My mom and I went to see the EyeCare America doctor. My mom is on a fixed income and I earn very little. We appreciate this program very much. My mom found out that she has a cataract in one eye. So thank you again and may God bless you all greatly.”

EyeCare America is designed for people who:

  •     Are U.S. citizens or legal residents
  •     Are age 65 and older
  •     Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years
  •     Do not belong to an HMO or receive eye care benefits through the VA

To see immediately if you, a loved one or a friend, 65 or older, is eligible to receive a referral for an eye exam and care, visit http://www.eyecareamerica.org.

EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon. The program is endorsed by state and subspecialty ophthalmological societies.

About EyeCare America
Established in 1985, EyeCare America, the public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is committed to the preservation of sight, accomplishing its mission through public service and education. EyeCare America provides eye care services to medically underserved seniors and those at increased risk for eye disease through its corps of nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists dedicated to serving their communities. More than 90 percent of the care made available is provided at no out-of-pocket cost to the patients. Since its inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 1.5 million people. EyeCare America is a non-profit program whose success is made possible through charitable contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. More information can be found at: http://www.eyecareamerica.org

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Neves, Director of Public Relations – 415.447-0385, aneves(at)aao(dot)org

NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: High-resolution images and interviews with EyeCare America spokespeople, physicians and patients available upon request.

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Christina Curas
American Academy Of Ophthalmology
(415) 447-0387
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