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Prevent Blindness Declares November As Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month


(Press Release) CHICAGO – Prevent Blindness has declared November as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month to help educate the public on the effects of diabetes on vision, types of diabetic eye disease, risk factors and treatment options.

Today, more than 8 million Americans have diabetic retinopathy, with that number expected to jump in the coming years, according to a study by Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety non-profit organization.

The study, The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems, also projected extremely high growth in diabetic retinopathy cases for Hispanic populations.

Currently, 67 percent of cases are among whites and 17 percent among Hispanics. By 2050, projections suggest that 45 percent of diabetic retinopathy patients will be white and 35 percent will be Hispanic. And, diabetic retinopathy affects more men than women.

Prevent Blindness offers a variety of free resources dedicated to the education of diabetic eye disease including its dedicated website, preventblindness.org/diabetes, and its free “Healthy Eyes Educational Series, Adult Vision Problems Module,” at preventblindness.org/healthy-eyes-educational-series.

Among the conditions that make up diabetic eye disease are diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, along with cataract and glaucoma.

To help prevent diabetic eye disease, Prevent Blindness suggests:

  • Maintaining good blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol control.

  • Getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam and/or obtaining retinal photographs that are examined by an eye doctor, at least once a year, or more often as recommended by the eye doctor.

  • Pregnant women with diabetes prior to pregnancy should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam early in their pregnancy. The eye doctor may recommend additional exams during pregnancy.

  • Keeping a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising regularly, not smoking and following a healthy diet. Talk to a dietician about eating habits and a doctor before starting an exercise program.

“It is imperative for anyone with diabetes to get an annual eye exam,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “Although there is no cure for diabetic eye disease today, vision loss can be lessened with early diagnosis and proper treatment from an eye care professional.”

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a yearly eye exam for diabetic retinopathy by an eye doctor who is legally allowed to do the test in the state. All people with Part B who have diabetes are covered.

Europa Eyewear Joins Campaign To Raise Funds For Optometry Giving Sight


(Press Release) Europa Eyewear is taking part in the World Sight Day Challenge to help raise funds for people in underserved communities who are needlessly blind or vision impaired simply because they can’t access an eye exam and glasses.

This year’s challenge, coordinated by Optometry Giving Sight, focuses on the need for effective, sustainable eye health initiatives for children and adolescents under the banner of Our Children's Vision. The campaign runs throughout October. World Sight Day was Oct. 13.

For the past 10 years, thousands of optometrists, their staff and patients, along with students of optometry and their colleagues in industry, have taken the World Sight Day Challenge by making a tax-deductible donation and/or by raising funds to help eliminate the backlog of uncorrected refractive error, estimated to affect more than 600 million people.

In early November Europa Eyewear will host its first annual “Europa Olympics” to help people who are blind or vision impaired. The campaign is run by the global charity Optometry Giving Sight.

“We have supported Optometry Giving Sight for four years,” said Jerry Wolowicz of Europa Eyewear.

“Preventable blindness is a solvable problem and we are proud to help give better vision to those in need. People are inspired to learn that for as little as $5 someone living in an underserved community can be provided with an eye exam and a pair of glasses. Everyone can make a huge difference and help transform lives.”

You can participate by making a single or monthly donation before the end of October. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1 million globally in 2016.

Registration Opens For International Vision Expo East 2017


(Press Release) Registration has opened for International Expo East 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, NY.

The schedule includes education from March 30 through April 2 and exhibition from March 31 through April 3.

Vision Expo East 2017 will feature a renewed focus on the latest in eyewear fashion and design trends, bringing emerging designers and boutique eyewear to the forefront in a series of fashion shows throughout the show floor, pop-up talks with media experts on the latest in eyewear fashion and dispensary trends, and a new designer gallery.

Building on the success of the Vision Expo West 2016 education session, Vision Expo East will host an expanded Scleral Lens Track, now including a hands-on workshop, as well as the Vision Series offering product-specific presentations. A Retail Track, new this year, will bring attendees the latest marketing, merchandising and retail strategies from within and outside of the industry, including a “Manager’s To-Do List” miniseries featuring tactical applications of retail strategies and private practice. A new JCAHPO Track has also been added, providing credit opportunities to allied health professionals.

In a new series of Rising Star Sessions, Vision Expo East education attendees will have access to a panel of emerging professional thought leaders, as well as programming curated and presented by Vision Expo’s Young Professionals Club and other young leaders from within the industry.

To learn more about Vision Expo, or to register, visit visionexpoeast.com.

International Vision Expos, the worldwide conference and exhibition for eyecare and eyewear, are trade-only events that draw more than 30,000 eyecare professionals each year.

Illinois Optometrists Have A New President


(Press Release) Dr. Christine Allison was recently sworn in as the new president of the Illinois Optometric Association during its 118th Annual Convention.

“I am excited and honored to serve as the IOA president for the 2016-2017 term,” Allison said.

“One priority of mine is to continue our efforts of helping the public understand the importance of regular eye exams by a qualified provider.”

Allison has been an active member of the Illinois Optometric Association since 1997 and a member of the President’s Cabinet for six years.

She received her doctorate of optometry from the State University of New York College of Optometry and completed a residency program in Binocular Vision and Pediatric Optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry.

Allison is a professor at the Illinois College of Optometry, teaching core courses and laboratories in the pediatric curriculum. She works with patients at the Illinois Eye Institute.

She is also a fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, a fellow of the National Academies of Practice and a diplomate of the American Academy of Optometry.

Vision Council Commits $3M to Think About Your Eyes Campaign


(Press Release) Alexandria, VA – The Vision Council announced that it will contribute $3 million to the Think About Your Eyes Campaign in 2017, an increase from the 2016 contribution of $500,000, in response to the success of the campaign in reaching consumers and growing eye exams across the country.

In 2015, Think About Your Eyes messaging resulted in nearly 1 million eye exams, leading to the early detection of either AMD, glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy for many Americans, shortening the exam cycle by 45 percent and bringing an additional $320 million in revenue to the vision industry.

"As a trade association The Vision Council works to provide our members with the tools needed to grow their businesses, with the ultimate goal of improving the vision care available to consumers and helping them to lead better lives, " said Mike Daley, CEO of The Vision Council.

"Think About Your Eyes has proven to be the most effective method of growing the industry.

We're thrilled with the success the campaign has demonstrated, and proud to support the initiative that's bringing direct benefit to our member companies."

"Think About Your Eyes continues to prove that it's working — the public is hearing our message and taking action," said Jon Torrey, executive director of Think About Your Eyes. "This is possible only because of the support of our partner companies. This growth in funding from The Vision Council will allow us to continue to increase the number and frequency of eye exams, as well as diagnose eye diseases that have previously gone untreated. "

Thanks to the support of 19 industry leaders, Think About Your Eyes has generated more than 1.25 billion impressions in 2016 through national television, radio, print and online/digital advertising to share educational and motivational messages about eye disease, eye strain, children's vision, presbyopia and how regular eye exams can positively affect overall health.

The campaign is designed to encourage consumers to learn more and schedule an eye exam by visiting thinkaboutyoureyes.com. The site, which has received more than 2.5 million visitors, features a comprehensive practice locator tool where visitors can easily find local Think About Your Eyes eye care providers from the nearly 17,500 participating providers.

Think About Your Eyes is a public awareness initiative focused on educating consumers about the importance of vision health and annual comprehensive eye exams. Current partners include Alcon, The Vision Council, American Optometric Association, All About Vision, GUNNAR Optiks, Jobson Optical Group, National Vision, Inc. (NVI), SpecialEyes, SPY, Hilco, Walman Optical, Transitions, Shamir, Chemistrie Eyewear, Essilor, Luxottica Group, Eschenbach and Westgroupe.

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