Take a Family Glaucoma Snapshot: EyeCare America Asks Families to Share History of Glaucoma

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National campaign works to prevent blindness in communities at high risk for the disease by providing free glaucoma eye exams and free educational videos.

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Glaucoma: A Guide for Latinos

Summer is the perfect time to see your family. EyeCare America asks that along with getting snapshots of great summertime memories get a snapshot of your family history of glaucoma. Having a family member that has glaucoma is a risk factor for getting the eye disease.

The Family Glaucoma Snapshot campaign is intended to raise awareness about the risk factors for glaucoma among communities that are at high risk for the disease such as African Americans and Latinos. EyeCare America also encourages people to call its Glaucoma EyeCare Program at 1-800-391-EYES (3937) to find out if they are eligible for a free glaucoma eye exam.

Additionally, EyeCare America is providing VHS tapes of the “Glaucoma and You” video, featuring baseball legend Willie Mays and actress Diahann Carroll, and DVDs of the “Glaucoma: A Guide for Latinos” (available in English and Spanish) video, featuring boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya, free of charge to those interested. The 30-minute educational videos have been developed to increase glaucoma awareness, diagnosis and treatment among African-Americans and Latinos. Those interested in receiving either of the videos can call 1-877-887-6327. The tapes will be available while supplies last.

“Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African-Americans and U.S. Hispanics,” said
M. Roy Wilson, MD. “It normally progresses so slowly that there are no warning signs before permanent damage has occurred to the eye. Educating the African-American and Hispanic communities about the importance of a yearly eye exam should result in earlier detection and treatment of glaucoma and prevent vision loss.”

Glaucoma often has no warning signs and the vision loss caused by the disease is irreversible. In the fight against blindness caused by glaucoma, EyeCare America asks people to get their Family Glaucoma Snapshot by following these three, simple steps:

Get Your Family Glaucoma Snapshot

  • 1. ASK: “Does anyone in our family have glaucoma?”
  • 2. CALL: 1-800-391-EYES (3937) to see if you qualify for a FREE exam.
  • 3. TELL: Your family if you have glaucoma.

EyeCare America’s Glaucoma EyeCare Program promotes early detection and treatment of glaucoma. It raises awareness of glaucoma risk factors, provides free glaucoma educational materials and facilitates access to a glaucoma eye examination.

The Glaucoma EyeCare Program is designed for people who:

  •     Are U.S. citizens or legal residents
  •     Have not had an eye exam in 12 months or more
  •     Are at increased risk for glaucoma (as determined by risk factors that include family history, race, and age)

People may call the toll-free help line at 1-800-391-EYES (3937) for themselves and/or family members, to see if they qualify for a glaucoma eye exam or to request free eye care information. The EyeCare America help line operates all day, everyday, year-round.

*Those eligible for a referral through the glaucoma program receive a glaucoma eye exam and the initiation of treatment, if deemed necessary. Uninsured patients will receive the above care at no charge. Patients with insurance will be billed and are responsible for any co-payments and/or the cost of the eye examination.

The Glaucoma EyeCare Program is co-sponsored by 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 served 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: Allison Neves, Communications Director – 415.561.8518, aneves(at)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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