This Holiday Season EyeCare America Asks Seniors, 'Do you see what I see?'

National Non-profit Launches Age-related Macular Degeneration Campaign, that Provides Eye Exams at No Cost to Eligible Patients and Free Eye-Healthy Cookbooks

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Do You See What I See?

San Francisco, CA (Vocus) December 2, 2008

"Do You See What I See?" For seniors who suffer with an eye disease known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) the answer is always, "No."

Picture this…. a large black hole in the center of your sight that robs you from seeing complete images and eats away at your vision from the inside out. That is what happens for the 10 million Americans who suffer from AMD. AMD is a devastating eye disease and the leading cause of vision loss in people 65 years or older in the United States.

This holiday season, EyeCare America is raising awareness about AMD, its risk factors and treatment options through a campaign called "Do You See What I See?" The year-round program promotes annual eye exams for people 65 and older, raises awareness of AMD, provides the latest information about treatment options and low vision services, offers free AMD educational materials, and facilitates access to no cost eye care through EyeCare America's AMD EyeCare Program. The eye exams will be provided by more than 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. Those interested in the program can call 1-866-324-EYES (3937) to see if they are eligible.

"There is no cure for AMD, but early detection and treatment may lessen severe vision loss and slow the progression of the disease," said William Tasman, MD, chair of EyeCare America's AMD EyeCare Program.

Recent studies also show that eating foods rich in antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, may reduce the risk of AMD, or slow its progression in some people. In light of this, EyeCare America has developed a cookbook called Feast Your Eyes on This! which includes eye healthy recipes from celebrity chefs from across the United States. The complete cookbook is available for FREE online at http://www.eyecareamerica.org. It makes a thoughtful and healthy holiday gift… and best of all its FREE!

The AMD EyeCare Program is designed for people at increased risk for AMD, who:

  • Are age 65 and older
  • Have not been diagnosed with AMD
  • Are US citizens or legal residents
  • Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years
  • Do not belong to an HMO or the VA

People can call the toll-free helpline at 1-866-324-EYES (3937) anytime, for themselves and/or family members and friends to see if they qualify for a free eye exam.

Callers who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years may be eligible to receive a comprehensive medical eye exam and, in most cases, up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam.

Eyeglasses, medicines, hospital services and fees of other medical professionals are not included.

The AMD EyeCare Program is co-sponsored by Alcon, Inc., Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Genentech, Inc., Novartis Ophthalmics and Pfizer Ophthalmics.

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 the medically underserved and for those at increased risk for eye disease through its corps of 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. EyeCare America includes programs for seniors, glaucoma, diabetes, AMD and children, and is the largest program of its kind in American medicine. Since its inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 1 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

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