RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif., Aug. 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Already the leading cause of blindness for people ages 65 and older, the incidence rate of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) for people ages 50 and over in the U.S. has increased by 25 percent over the last decade. In response to this rapid growth, VSP® Vision Care is launching the VSP Eye on Age-Related Macular Degeneration campaign designed to increase consumer awareness about preventative care behaviors, support eye doctors with continuing education in providing essential care and providing free eyecare services to those in need.
As part of the VSP Eye on Wellness program, which launched a similar and successful Eye on Diabetes campaign now in its third year, this campaign will also highlight the important role annual eye exams play in the early detection and treatment of serious eye conditions such as AMD. While AMD's impact primarily affects people in their older years, understanding AMD's risk factors and being proactive in preventive care at a young age is critical to delaying the development of the disease. In addition to receiving an annual eye exam, preventive measures include eating nutrient-rich foods, incorporating a regular exercise routine, protecting your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light and minimizing your exposure to digital devices that emit blue light.
"The VSP Eye on Wellness campaigns support our mission to help people see better by combining awareness, education and care," said Jim McGrann, president of VSP Vision Care. "Annual comprehensive eye exams by an eyecare professional play a critical role in having the opportunity to slow, or even in some cases stop, the progression of AMD through early diagnosis and treatment."
Free health services, including comprehensive eye exams and health risk assessments for AMD, will be provided using equipment by ZeaVision, to low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents across America through the campaign. The campaign begins August 24 in St. Louis, where Missouri is among the states with the highest rates of AMD.
The 2013 campaign will continue with two additional stops in Fort Lauderdale, FL and Tampa, FL. Additional campaign stops throughout the country are scheduled for 2014.
Local VSP network doctors will volunteer their time through the VSP Mobile Eyes® program to provide exam services onboard a VSP Mobile Eye Clinic outfitted with state-of-the-art exam rooms, dispensaries and a finishing lab.
The campaign will also include a free continuing education course approved by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) offered for all licensed optometrists and their staff. The course will provide doctors with the most recent information and tools for them to continue providing quality care for their patients who have, or are at risk for, AMD. For more information or to register for the continuing education courses in St. Louis and Tampa, please visit vspeyeonamd.com.
"Macular degeneration is ideally identified before any visual changes occur," said VSP optometrist Jeffry D. Gerson, O.D., F.A.A.O., whose specialty is retinal disease management. He leads the continuing education courses with Dr. Paul Chous. "A person's eye doctor is critical not only for early detection of the disease but to also provide counsel on life choices that can help reduce the risk of AMD."
For more information about VSP Eye on Wellness campaigns, as well as other VSP charitable programs, visit globaleyesofhope.com.
About VSP Global
VSP Global® includes VSP Vision Care, the largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company in the United States with 59 million members; Marchon® Eyewear Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically-advanced eyewear and sunwear; Eyefinity® which offers innovative solutions and the premier management software and technology to improve overall practice management and patient experience; VSP Optics Group, industry leaders in new technologies, production processes, service and logistics.
To date, through VSP Global Eyes of Hope® outreach programs such as VSP Mobile Eyes® and Sight for Students®, and through relationships including those with the American Red Cross and Prevent Blindness America, VSP has invested close to $160 million in free eyecare and eyewear for close to 845,000 adults and children in need throughout the United States.
CONTACT: Alex Sigua, VSP Vision Care Phone: (916) 769-4851 firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Vision Service Plan