San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) August 22, 2011
The eyes, they say, are the windows to the soul. But did you know that the eye disease age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can also indicate increased risk of heart attack or stroke? During September’s Save Your Sight Month, Eye Care America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is raising awareness about AMD and its potential “window to health” through your eyes.
The AMD-Health Connection
Imagine seeing black holes in your field of vision, instead of the scene before you—your family, your garden, your favorite book. For the more than 10 million Americans who suffer from AMD, this is what life is like. The leading cause of vision loss for those 65 and older, AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the eye’s macula, where the sharpest, central vision occurs. This causes vision to break down from the center outward. While not curable, AMD’s advancement can be delayed and treated, leading to many more years of healthy vision for those who detect it early through an eye exam.
This same blood vessel damage can also indicate risk for heart attack or stroke—as much as 8 to 10 times greater than for someone without this damage. An Australian study noted that among those whose health was followed for a number of years, subjects with AMD had more than double the incidence of heart attack or stroke. So an eye exam eye could help save not only your sight, but also your life, by letting you know of increased risk for other serious health problems.
EyeCare America provides eye exams at no out-of-pocket cost to people age 65 and older and offers online medication assistance information. 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.
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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