National Non-Profit, EyeCare America, Announces its First Ever 'EyeRide for Sight'

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U.S. Transcontinental Bike Ride to Raise Awareness about Eye Disease and Free Eye Exams and Raise Funds for Blindness Prevention Programs.

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We hope that our bike ride across the United States will allow EyeCare America to help even more people save their sight.

EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, today announced that six cyclists will embark on a transcontinental bike ride in order to educate the public about eye disease, encourage the public to utilize EyeCare America’s free eye care programs and raise funds to support the organization’s efforts to save sight. A $25 donation will allow EyeCare America to provide free medical eye care to someone in need within the U.S. To make a donation to EyeRide for Sight, log on to http://www.eyecareamerica.org and click on the “EyeRide for Sight” logo.

The California-based organization recently received a letter of support for the bike ride from the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which will begin at EyeCare America’s headquarters in San Francisco on May 7, 2008 and finish at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Washington, D.C. office in late July. The ride is also supported and endorsed by the California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.

"EyeCare America is one of the largest public service programs in the U.S. to offer access to medical eye care at no cost. Our mission is to put an end to preventable blindness. As such, we are always looking for new ways to tell people about our programs and connect those at risk of eye disease with our services," said Richard P. Mills, MD, ophthalmologist and Chair of EyeCare America. "When our board member, Tony McClellan, approached us to let us know that his son was looking for a worthy cause to support during his scheduled transcontinental bike ride, we thought that it would be a great partnership. Through the EyeRide for Sight, we hope to get the message out to medically underserved communities that EyeCare America can help save their sight."

The EyeRide for Sight cycling team, led by Tom McClellan of Gloucestershire, South West England, is made up of six cyclists from the United Kingdom including McClellan, Alex Galvin, Ben Hodge, Ben Leigh, Oliver Lombard and Fred Mahon. The team will ride approximately 3,000 mile across the United States over the course of two months to raise awareness about eye disease and EyeCare America’s services.

"We are excited to work with EyeCare America in order to help raise awareness about eye disease and preventable blindness," said Tom McClellan, lead cyclist for EyeRide for Sight. "We hope that our bike ride across the United States will allow EyeCare America to help even more people save their sight."

For more than 20 years, EyeCare America has provided free eye health educational materials and access to medical eye care at no out-of-pocket cost, for those who qualify. For information and to determine eligibility, the public can call 800-222-EYES (3937) tool-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

To support the ride, EyeCare America has launched a new microsite http://www.eyecareamerica.org/eyeride.cfm where the public can learn about the cyclists through videos, photos and weekly blog updates and follow their path as they journey across the United States using an interactive map.

Visitors to the site can also make a donation to support EyeCare America’s various eye care programs for seniors, glaucoma, diabetes, AMD and children. Individuals who donate $25 or more will receive a FREE EyeRide for Sight wristband as a gift for their contribution. For more information, visit http://www.eyecareamerica.org.

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 nearly 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

MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Vance, Communications Specialist for EyeCare America – 415.447-0284, lvance @ aao.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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Lauren Vance

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