August 4, 2004.
Source: EyeCare America.
Program Provides Free Glaucoma Eye Exams to Eligible People at Risk.
EyeCare America, the public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (FAAO), announced today that it has been awarded a $1.5 million grant by Pfizer's Ophthalmics division. The three-year unrestricted educational grant will support EyeCare America's Glaucoma EyeCare Program, which promotes early detection and treatment of glaucoma by raising awareness of glaucoma risk factors (family history, race, age) and by providing free access to glaucoma eye exams at no cost to uninsured eligible people. Currently, an estimated 1.5 million Americans have undetected and untreated glaucoma, placing them at greater risk for vision loss and blindness.
EyeCare America's Glaucoma EyeCare Program is a collaborative grassroots effort through which members of the American Academy of Ophthalmology have joined together to battle glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and the most common cause of blindness among African-Americans. The program is designed for U.S. citizens or legal residents who have not had an eye exam in the last 12 months, are at increased risk for glaucoma and who do not belong to an HMO or the VA. People eligible for the program are referred to one of EyeCare America's 7,500 participating volunteer ophthalmologists for a glaucoma eye exam and the initiation of treatment, if deemed necessary.
"At Pfizer Ophthalmics, one of our highest priorities in the treatment of glaucoma is earlier education about risk factors for glaucoma and treatment of high eye pressure when needed," said Neil Levine, senior director, and group leader of Endocrine Care/Ophthalmology at Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals. "We share with EyeCare America and ophthalmologists throughout the country the belief that early detection and treatment of glaucoma can preserve sight. We are proud to provide resources to those who, on a daily basis, are pursuing optimal vision for those who are at increased risk and have limited resources."
"EyeCare America and its growing base of volunteer ophthalmologists are committed to providing quality medical eye care for the estimated 3 million people who are at risk for glaucoma," said Dr. Martin Wand, chairman of the Glaucoma EyeCare Program Committee. "We look forward to working with Pfizer toward a common goal of preserving sight and eliminating preventable blindness. Early detection and treatment of glaucoma can preserve sight."
In addition to being supported in part by the grant from Pfizer Ophthalmics, the EyeCare America Glaucoma EyeCare Program is endorsed by the American Glaucoma Society and state ophthalmological societies. To determine if you, a family member or friend qualify for a referral, call the 1-800-391-EYES (3937) toll-free helpline, which is available 24 hours a day.
Glaucoma affects approximately three million people in the United States and 67 million people worldwide. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma in the United States, and is associated with high pressure in the eye.
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 to those at increased risk for eye disease through its corps of 7,500 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 that focus on glaucoma, diabetes, seniors and children, and is the largest program of its kind in American medicine. Since its inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 700,000 people and treated more than 180,000 cases of eye disease. 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 www.eyecareamerica.org.
The America Glaucoma EyeCare Program was established by the following team of experts in the field of ophthalmology: Martin Wand, MD (chair), Anne Louise Coleman, MD, PhD; Harry A. Quigley, MD; Robert L. Stamper, MD; M. Roy Wilson, MD; Richard P. Wilson MD; B. Thomas Hutchinson, MD (ex-officio). Their responsibilities are to oversee program development including clinical expertise, fundraising, publicity, volunteer recruitment and recognition.
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