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Free Vision Screening Program Comes to Chicago on June 11

06/11/2011   09:33:43 AM

American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmart® EyeCheck Partners with the Illinois Association of Ophthalmology to Combat Undetected Eye Disease & Visual Impairment Among High-Risk Populations

CHICAGO - The American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy) and the Illinois Association of Ophthalmology (IAO) will bring a new screening initiative, EyeSmart ® EyeCheck, a program created to combat undetected eye disease and visual impairment among at-risk populations in the United States, to Chicago. The free vision screening will take place on Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church at 4301 W. Washington Blvd. in Chicago.

"Our goal with EyeSmart EyeCheck is to raise awareness and understanding of the impact of eye disease and visual impairment, particularly among Chicago's minority populations who disproportionately lack access to care," said Tamara R. Fountain, MD, past-president of the IAO and a Chicago-based ophthalmologist.

Working together with the IAO, the Academy's EyeSmart EyeCheck is:

  • Introducing a new screening methodology for adults, focusing on detecting vision damage from any eye condition rather than screening for a specific eye disease. Studies suggest that this approach may be more cost-effective.
  • Facilitating free screenings to help identify undiagnosed visual impairment among populations at greatest risk and with limited access to health care.
  • Providing referrals to eye care providers and eye health information both at the screenings as well as later online.

The prevalence of eye disease in the African-American and Latino communities is what prompted the Academy to adopt and promote a different approach to adult vision screenings.

"Traditional adult vision screenings typically screen for a specific disease like glaucoma or cataracts," said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "To get the greatest benefit from a screening, it makes sense to screen broadly for functional impairment in a sequential process of elimination. This allows us to screen more individuals in a given time period, and much like triage in an emergency room, where more serious cases are quickly referred on for care."

The Academy's EyeSmart EyeCheck program will be working with the Hoskins Center, EyeCare America, Chicago area ophthalmology practices, local health departments and community clinics to provide sources for care once visual impairment is detected. EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, offers eye care services often at no out-of-pocket cost to qualifying patients. Eligible patients are referred to one of nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the country. In addition, EyeSmart EyeCheck will work with local hospitals, community clinics and health departments to steer patients to treatment. Support for the EyeSmart EyeCheck program has been provided by The Allergan Foundation.

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About the Illinois Association of Ophthalmology
The Illinois Association of Ophthalmology represents the nearly 700 ophthalmologists who practice throughout the state. A primary mission is to engage in worthwhile public service projects and professional education programs, as well as advocating for ophthalmologists and their patients within state government and the private sector. The IAO's website is: www.ILeyeMD.org

About the Hoskins Center for Quality Eye Care
The H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., M.D. Center for Quality Eye Care isan evidence-based nonprofit quality-of-care and health policy research center located in San Francisco. The Hoskins Center conducts and supports clinical studies, develops patient care guidelines, establishes national data registries, and collects and analyzes data from clinical practices to improve decision making and public health policies, evaluate the value of eye care services and provide physician education to enhance access and appropriateness of eye care for the public. More information can be found at www.hoskinscenter.org.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons—Eye M.D.s—with more than 29,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org.

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