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American Academy of Ophthalmology Appoints Charles P. Wilkinson Chair of EyeCare America

04/30/2014   05:00:00 AM

BALTIMORE — The American Academy of Ophthalmology is pleased to announce that local ophthalmologist and professor, Charles P. Wilkinson, M.D. has been appointed chair of EyeCare America, the largest public service program of its kind in American medicine. Dr. Wilkinson is also chair of the department of ophthalmology at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and a professor in the Johns Hopkins University department of ophthalmology.

Founded in 1985, EyeCare America is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. With a mission to reduce avoidable blindness and severe visual impairment, EyeCare America raises awareness about eye diseases and care, providing free eye health educational materials and facilitating access to medical eye care to qualifying older Americans. Since its inception, the program has helped nearly 1.8 million people nationwide. As its chair, Dr. Wilkinson is will oversee the EyeCare America program and its development including volunteer recruitment and recognition, operations, fundraising and publicity.

Dr. Wilkinson is featured in EyeCare America's newest video about the program, its volunteers and its benefit to older Americans. The video was just released this spring.

An EyeCare America volunteer since its inception, Dr. Wilkinson has served on the program's Steering Committee and as chairman of its diabetes program. He is also a past president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, having served as president in 2007 and received the Academy's Honor, Senior Honor and Life Achievement Honor Awards for his exemplary work.

Dr. Wilkinson received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University and was an intern and resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He then received vitreoretinal fellowship training at the University of Miami and subsequently joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, where he was a clinical professor of ophthalmology for more than 15 years. He moved to Baltimore in 1992 and has served in his current roles at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University since then. His research interests include retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. He has published extensively on a variety of topics.

"While one in six Americans age 65 and older has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, all too often people wait until they've lost some of their vision before seeing an ophthalmologist because they do not have insurance or cannot afford the out-of-pocket cost," said Dr. Wilkinson. "The EyeCare America program aims to change that by matching patients in need with volunteer ophthalmologists. There are more than 6,000 EyeCare America volunteers nationwide, and 170 in the state of Maryland alone."

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Eye M.D.s — with more than 32,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org to learn more.

About EyeCare America
Established in 1985, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is committed to the preservation of sight, accomplishing its mission through public service and education. EyeCare America provides year-round eye care services to medically underserved seniors and those at increased risk for eye disease. More than 90 percent of the care made available is provided at no out-of-pocket cost to the patients. EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon and Genentech. More information can be found at www.eyecareamerica.org.

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