SOURCE: EyeCare America

EyeCare America

January 05, 2010 15:30 ET

EyeCare America Asks: Do You Know What Heavy Winter Rains Have in Common With Glaucoma?

EyeCare America and 7000 Ophthalmologists Providing FREE Eye Exams During January's Glaucoma Awareness Month

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - January 5, 2010) - Every winter across the US, heavy rains bring thoughts of flooding, backed up drainage systems and overflowing streets. When drains and city sewers get clogged, the overflow of winter rains can bring a once bustling community to a grinding halt. Like the back up caused by winter's inevitable downpour, poor drainage of a person's eye can lead to high eye pressure which is a cause of Glaucoma.

In honor of January's Glaucoma Awareness Month, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, encourages those without insurance to take advantage of its national Glaucoma EyeCare Program. The program offers glaucoma eye exams for those at increased risk of glaucoma. Family history, race and age play a big part in evaluating your risk. African-Americans, Hispanics and people with diabetes are also at higher risk of getting the disease.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

--  Glaucoma is often caused by increased pressure that can develop
    when the fluids in the eye are not draining properly
--  This condition eventually damages the nerve that connects the eye
    to the brain and leads to loss of vision
--  If caught early, Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops that lower
    eye pressure, laser therapy that allows for better drainage of fluids
    inside the eye, or eye surgery to create a new drainage canal
    

Nearly three million people have glaucoma, but half do not realize it because there are often no warning symptoms. An eye exam can save your sight and all that is needed for detection is a quick and painless office test. Glaucoma doesn't have to interfere with leading a happy, sighted and fulfilling life. To see if you, a loved one or a friend is eligible to receive a referral for an eye exam and care, or to request free eye care information, call 1-800-391-EYES (3937), 24 hours a day, every day, year round. All eligible callers receive a referral to one of EyeCare America's 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists.

*The Glaucoma EyeCare Program is designed for people who: are US citizens or legal residents, have not had an eye exam in 12 months or more, and/or are deemed to be at increased risk for glaucoma (as determined by family history, race, age). 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.

About EyeCare America

Founded in 1985, EyeCare America, a 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 programs provide 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 information can be found at: www.eyecareamerica.org

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