SAN FRANCISCO – Imagine not being able to read the newspaper, watch television, or drive your car.
These are a few of the things many seniors have trouble doing due to various eye diseases. In fact, by the age of 65, one in three Americans has some form of vision impairing eye disease. However, with the U.S. economy experiencing a major downturn, senior communities on fixed incomes are struggling to pay for health care.
In light of this, EyeCare America is reminding seniors, “Don’t Lose Sight of Your Independence.” The national health campaign is intended to remind the senior community about the value of eyesight and encourage seniors 65 and older to call EyeCare America’s Seniors EyeCare Program to see if they qualify for an eye exam and care, often at no cost.
“I had excellent care and I now have 20/20 vision and it is so very good,” said Melva Rayles, an EyeCare America patient from Warner, Ok. “Now I can do all of my crocheting and knitting.”
EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, operates one of the largest programs of its kind in American medicine. All eligible callers receive a referral to one of 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists. Volunteer physicians agree to accept Medicare or other insurance as payment in full, resulting in no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. Individuals without insurance are seen at no charge.
EyeCare America’s Seniors EyeCare Program is designed for people who:
• are U.S. citizens or legal residents;
• are age 65 and older;
• have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years;
• do not belong to an HMO or the VA.
For a Seniors EyeCare Program referral, call the toll-free help line 1-800-222-EYES (3937). The Seniors EyeCare Program help line operates all day, every day, year-round.
The Seniors EyeCare Program is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. 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. Learn more at www.eyecareamerica.org.