Telling the Story of Our Impact Through the Voices of Our Patients
Richard L. Abbott, MD, performed two corneal transplants on Stephanie Beaver Alder. As a child, she was in special reading programs because her teachers mistakenly thought she had learning disabilities. After the transplants, she developed a love for reading and became the first person in her family to earn a college degree.
The Academy launched a significant effort in 2016 to more powerfully demonstrate the value of medical and surgical eye care to members of the public. Our new patient story initiative is a monthly series of feature stories that highlight a patient and the life-changing care they received from Academy-member ophthalmologists. The program seeks to elevate the profession of ophthalmology to the public and encourage people to make their eye health a priority.
One of our video stories features Stephanie Beaver Alder, who had herpes keratitis. At age 5, and again at 11, Richard L. Abbott, MD, performed corneal transplants that transformed her quality of life. “Your hands and someone who decided to be an organ donor are how I am able to see and experience the world the way I do,” she said. “My life has been changed in every way. Not just my vision, but everything. I just feel so grateful.”
Each month, our EyeSmart® website for the public and our social media channels feature a new patient story. Submit your story for consideration.
Engaging the public through digital and social media
We also renewed our call to the public about the importance of regular eye exams beginning at age 40. With the launch of an animated video, “Eye Exams: Detecting the Signs We Can’t See,” we take a creative and entertaining approach in explaining how an ophthalmologist can spot early signs of disease that we can’t on our own. Through the power of Facebook and Twitter, the campaign has reached nearly half a million people. Be sure to take a look and share with your patients in your marketing efforts.
Leading the eye health conversation
The Academy reaches millions of people around the world through its proactive media outreach efforts. This exposure, combined with promotion of the Academy’s EyeSmart website, increases ophthalmology’s presence in the public eye. Each story increases awareness and understanding about the value eye physicians and surgeons bring to society. Academy spokespeople were quoted in more than 10,000 media stories in 2016. Highlights include: “Don’t wait until you’re older to fight getting old” (Rebecca J. Taylor, MD; Washington Post), “Parents opt for unapproved treatments instead of glasses for their children” (Thomas L. Steinemann, MD; CNN) and “After a Long Day at the Computer Do You Have a Medical Problem?” (Michael X. Repka, MD; NPR).