Many people are unaware that they have these diseases until they start to experience symptoms, after irreversible vision loss may have occurred.
(PRWEB) May 04, 2012
Beginning in May, Healthy Vision Month, the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF) is launching See a Better Tomorrow, a public education campaign that encourages people to schedule comprehensive eye exams to help protect against irreversible vision loss.
AHAF, which funds research and provides public information on glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, attests that early diagnosis is key to limiting or preventing vision loss from these two degenerative diseases, which affect 16 million Americans.
“Many people are unaware that they have these diseases until they start to experience symptoms, after irreversible vision loss may have occurred,” says AHAF President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller. “The good news is that with detection and treatment, eye doctors can often slow or stop the progression of these diseases and help protect against blindness.”
A regular, comprehensive eye exam with pupil dilation allows a doctor to examine the back of the eye for signs of eye disease before symptoms appear.
Through public service announcements and a wide range of resources, AHAF’s See a Better Tomorrow campaign asks people to visualize places or people they want to see, and then to protect their ability to continue seeing them by having an eye exam. The multi-platform campaign, highlighted at the campaign website, http://www.ahaf.org/SeeaBetterTomorrow, features:
- What Would You Like to See? PSAs: A set of public service announcements for TV and radio features adults and children imagining what they would like to see. The spots provide contact information to learn more about protecting vision. For this ongoing public service campaign, news media can download high-resolution PSAs of varying lengths, at http://www.goodwillcommunications.com/PSADigital.aspx
- See a Better Tomorrow photo contest: Via Facebook, contestants enter photos of people, places, or things bringing them joy for a chance to win an AHAF prize pack valued at more than $100.
- Publications, videos, podcasts, and other resources in English and Spanish, including healthy vision tips.
- A locator service helps people find an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist.
- Free eCards for reminding loved ones to get an eye exam.
Glaucoma, which has few or no symptoms in its early stages, is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and the world. Approximately 2.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, and another 2.8 million may be living with the disease and not yet know it. Eye exams are very important for people who might be at high risk for glaucoma: African Americans older than 40; everyone older than 60, particularly Mexican-Americans; and people with a family history of the disease.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in industrialized nations. In the U.S., as many as 11 million people may have some form of the disease, and that number is expected to double over the next four decades. There are limited options for preventing or treating various forms of this disease, but for many patients treatments can slow or halt vision loss.
Scientists are still learning about the causes of, and developing treatments for, these diseases. To date, AHAF’s Macular Degeneration Research and National Glaucoma Research programs have provided more than $31.5 million in grants to identify new prevention, diagnostic, and treatment options for people facing vision loss.
About the American Health Assistance Foundation
The American Health Assistance Foundation (http://www.ahaf.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding cures for age-related degenerative diseases by funding research worldwide under its three programs: Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research. AHAF also provides public information about these diseases, including risk factors, preventative lifestyles, current treatments, and coping strategies.