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The National Eye Health Education Program is coordinated by the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This administrative document may be reprinted without permission.
In This Issue:
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) was established to help educate people, especially those at high risk, on the need for early detection and treatment of eye diseases to prevent unnecessary vision loss and blindness. Last year the National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America released a report, Vision Problems in the U.S., that provides data on rates of eye diseases and visual impairment for the nation as a whole as well as for demographic subgroups. Due in large part to the aging of the “Baby Boom” generation and growing rates of diabetes, the prevalence of eye disease is expected to increase substantially in the near future. Although not all eye disease can be prevented, vision loss can often be mitigated with early detection, treatment, and appropriate follow-up care.
One reflection of the role NEHEP plays in eye health education is its activity to promote awareness about glaucoma. January has been designated Glaucoma Awareness Month, with the goal of translating this focused attention into year-round efforts to identify previously undiagnosed glaucoma and to address the threat posed by the disease. NEHEP educational resources, which are available in both English and Spanish, underscore the importance of comprehensive dilated eye exams for the early detection and treatment of glaucoma. These materials are designed to be adapted and tailored to meet the educational needs of diverse communities, and we welcome feedback on any innovations that emerge from your efforts in the field. This issue of Outlook describes available resources you can use to educate people about glaucoma, including the Keep Vision in Your Future: Glaucoma Toolkit. NEHEP also works with traditional and social media outlets to share important eye health information, and we also welcome input on how to achieve the greatest impact with our public-health messages.
Linking local communities with resources is another important role for NEHEP. As an example, a story in this issue of Outlook highlights collaboration between the Louisiana State University Community University Partnership and the Fresh Cuts Clean Health Barbershop Initiative, an outreach program that initially focused on screening for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Successful public-health initiatives often involve delivering health information in settings where people spend time and are willing to devote attention to their personal needs. Meanwhile, the potential impact of such efforts can be multiplied when risk factors for disease are prevalent in the population reached by the program. This is the case in Baton Rouge, where the community served by Louisiana State University includes large numbers of African American and Latino individuals, who are at elevated risk for glaucoma.
To detect eye diseases early, people at risk also need to be able to draw on available healthcare resources to receive comprehensive dilated eye exams. The glaucoma and diabetic eye disease benefit available through Medicare reflects an explicit effort to deliver care where it is particularly needed. The National Eye Institute also provides information about organizations that offer financial assistance for eye care, which can be accessed at http://www.nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes/financialaid.asp.
As we enter the New Year, I am hopeful that we can build on our professional networks to reach further into our communities and expand the reach of NEHEP. I look forward to hearing from you and send best wishes for a healthy and successful 2013.
Anne Louise Coleman, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair, National Eye Health Education Program Planning Committee
The Fran and Ray Stark Professor of Ophthalmology
Jules Stein Eye Institute
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
and Professor of Epidemiology
UCLA Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health
Glaucoma is a silent disease that often has no warning signs. Left untreated, glaucoma can result in permanent vision loss or even blindness. Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, is a leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Currently, 2.7 million people age 40 and older have glaucoma. This number is expected to reach 4.2 million by 2030 and 6.3 million by 2050. Fortunately, a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect the disease in its early stages before noticeable vision loss occurs. While anyone can get glaucoma, African Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans, and people with a family history are at higher risk and should have a dilated eye examination every one to two years. Early detection and treatment are keys to preventing unnecessary vision loss and blindness.
You can help raise awareness and educate others about glaucoma by distributing information to your community, family, friends, and colleagues. The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) provides a variety of resources in English and Spanish, including public service announcements (PSAs), e-cards, brochures, teaching resources for health professionals, and more. The following are a few examples of materials and how to use them. You can find these materials, as well as additional ideas on how your efforts can make a difference, on the NEHEP Glaucoma Education Program page.
Keep Vision in Your Future: Glaucoma Toolkit
What You Can Do: Use this online toolkit to inform those at higher risk of glaucoma about what they can do to protect their sight.
How You Can Do It: Use the PowerPoint presentation to conduct educational sessions at places in your community such as senior centers, churches, or clinics.
What You Can Do: Share this consumer-friendly site with others so they can learn about early detection and treatment for glaucoma.
How You Can Do It: Post the link on your intranet or website. Include information about the Glaucoma Website in e-mails and newsletters to your constituents.
What You Can Do: Spread the word about the importance of dilated eye exams by sending e-cards. Choose from a variety of e-cards—they can be personalized.
How You Can Do It: Send a card to friends, family, and members of your organization. Place a link to the e-cards on websites and in newsletters so others can send them.
Glaucoma Eye-Q Test
What You Can Do: Give people a chance to test their glaucoma knowledge. Help people learn more about the disease and how to protect their vision by using this short true-false quiz.
How You Can Do It: Download copies and approach local eye care providers; physicians’ offices; and places with community bulletin boards like grocery stores, community centers, and public libraries. Ask them to link to the test or leave them a copy and ask them to reproduce several copies to make them available to those they serve.
Medicare Benefit Card
What You Can Do: Help others learn about the glaucoma and diabetic eye disease benefit under Medicare by using this card, which contains information about benefit eligibility and where to go to learn more.
How You Can Do It: Distribute at health fairs, clinics, and other community locations. Place cards in your workplace cafeteria or lunch room with a note to “Take one for someone you care about.”
Don’t Lose Sight of Glaucoma Brochure
What You Can Do: Use this brochure to provide people with basic information about glaucoma and how vision loss can be prevented.
How You Can Do It: Distribute the brochure in waiting rooms, senior centers, local libraries, or health fairs in your community.
Radio and Print Public Service Announcements
What You Can Do: Enlist the mass media. NEHEP offers a variety of downloadable audio PSAs and scripts about the importance of dilated eye exams. Also available, in both English and Spanish, are a variety of print PSAs targeted to people at higher risk for glaucoma to inform them it has no early warning signs.
How You Can Do It: Use ready-made scripts to record PSAs that your organization can play on your hold line. Download an audio PSA and distribute it to local radio stations. Use one of the print PSAs in your newsletters or send it to local newspapers.
Visit the NEHEP Glaucoma Education Program page to find these materials and to learn about additional community activities you can do to increase awareness about glaucoma.
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) designed the Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit for community health workers (CHWs) to inform people with diabetes about diabetic eye disease and maintaining healthy vision. NEHEP has trained more than 164 CHWs around the country to use the toolkit, and based on these highly rated and well-received in-person training workshops, NEHEP has developed a Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit online training course to expand capacity building among CHWs to address diabetic eye disease within their communities.
The course consists of five lessons covering an introduction to diabetic eye disease, discovery of the toolkit, and all steps to prepare for and deliver an educational session on diabetic eye disease. It contains interactive features like knowledge checks, which tell the participant right away whether or not the answer is correct and provide the correct response for each question. The course also contains downloadable materials and allows participants to take as much time as they need to go over the sections and materials. The training also provides a certificate of completion that can be personalized, printed, and presented to receive continuing education credits in those states that accept nonaccredited trainings. The course takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.
The online training is ideal for any health professional or CHW interested in creating awareness about diabetic eye disease and even for clinic volunteers who educate patients while in the waiting rooms.
To take the online course, or download or order the toolkit, visit http://www.nei.nih.gov/diabetestoolkit.
Over the past year, the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) held a series of webinars to share eye health education research, information, and resources with health professionals, nonprofits, and community organizations to help them address the vision health of people at higher risk for eye disease and those living with low vision. These webinars included:
If you missed any of these webinars, you can view them on the NEHEP Website at http://www.nei.nih.gov/nehep/webinars.
To find additional eye health videos developed by NEHEP, visit http://www.nei.nih.gov/videos.
The AARP Annual Event and Expo held in September 2012, combined with International Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Week, provided the perfect launch site for the new eye awareness program, “Give Your Sight a Hand.” Created by the Macular Degeneration Partnership (MDP), this new program was designed to promote eye exams by encouraging people to check their vision one eye at a time.
“People with macular degeneration know to check the Amsler Grid one eye at a time. But how often does anyone else think to do that?” asks MDP Executive Director Judi Delgado. “‘Give Your Sight a Hand’ reminds everyone how important it is.”
AMD is an eye condition that gradually destroys the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly. The Amsler Grid looks like graph paper, with dark horizontal and vertical lines that form a square grid. When people with AMD look at the grid using one eye at a time, they may see wavy, broken, or distorted lines or may experience a blurred or missing area of vision.
At the Expo, attendees held a hand over one eye, while posing in front of an Amsler Grid. More than 700 seniors contributed photos that will be used as part of a year-long awareness campaign.
Other components of the project include a filmed public service announcement, provided through a grant from Women in Film; banners for light poles that will line a major thoroughfare in Los Angeles; and Facebook and Twitter campaigns.
The next AARP event will take place in Las Vegas, NV, May 31–June 1, 2013. It will be an opportunity to interact with more than 20,000 seniors. If you would like to be a part of the Vision Pavilion, contact Judi at email@example.com.
In collaboration with educators, vision researchers, and specialist advisors from across the 3D industry, the American Optometric Association (AOA) has published a comprehensive report for teachers, school nurses, school administrators, students, and parents on the benefits of teaching using 3D technology. In a first-of-its-kind report, 3D in the Classroom, See Well–Learn Well, new 3D approaches to learning are shown to enhance teaching, student learning, and vision and eye health.
Using 3D opportunities underscores two essential facts: 1) Children often learn faster and retain more information in the 3D environment; and 2) the ability to perceive 3D and learn in 3D requires precise elements of vision and eye health. Vision skills that use 3D are associated with eye alignment, eye tracking, and balanced and corrected refractive errors—conditions also associated with improved reading and learning in the general 2D classroom, and not assessed by standard eye charts.
To download a free copy of this report, visit http://www.3deyehealth.org.
For more information, contact Michael Duenas at MRDuenas@aoa.org.
Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has issued a call for applications for its 2013 Investigator Awards. The PBA Investigator Awards are research grants provided annually to public health projects that seek to put an end to unnecessary vision loss and blindness. Since its inception in 2003, the program has awarded more than $1 million to eye and vision research projects.
The deadline for the 10th annual PBA Investigator Awards is March 27, 2013. Grants are for a one-year period, up to $30,000, and reviewed by a panel of scientists in coordination with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. The awards will commence in the summer of 2013.
Focusing on adult vision, children’s vision, and eye injury, applications will be accepted in the following priority areas:
The 2012 Investigator Award was provided to Alex V. Levin, M.D., M.H.Sc., from the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA, for his project entitled, “Cost and Effectiveness of an Eye Care Adherence Program for Philadelphia School Children With Significant Visual Impairment.”
Findings from a study that received the 2009 Investigator Award were published in the 2012 December issue of Pediatrics. The purpose of the study by Peter K. Kriz, M.D., of Hasbro Children’s Hospital, titled “Effectiveness of Protective Eyewear in Reducing Severe Eye Injuries in High School Field Hockey Players,” was to determine whether mandated protective eyewear effectively reduces the incidence of severe eye injuries within a select population of female hockey players. According to his research, those who participated in states that have mandated protective eyewear had a reduced total head and face injury of 32 percent and a reduced eye/orbital injury rate of 80 percent.
For more information on the 2013 Investigator Awards, please visit http://www.preventblindness.org/investigator-award-application-process. For information on sports eye safety, visit http://www.preventblindness.org/sports-eye-safety, and for general vision health information, call 800–331–2020 or visit http://www.preventblindness.org.
The American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses (ASORN) was formed in 1976 to unite registered nurses committed to providing quality eye care to patients. Today, ASORN continues its dedication to being a resource for not only ophthalmic nurses but also for healthcare personnel who are committed to promoting collaboration among all who care for patients with ophthalmic needs.
The mission of ASORN is to foster excellence in ophthalmic patient care, while supporting the ophthalmic team through individual development, education, and evidence-based practice. To meet this goal, ASORN has planned an exciting webinar series for 2013 that focuses on the care of patients undergoing ophthalmic surgery in the ambulatory surgical setting.
The following four webinars are planned for the ASORN EyeQ Webinar Series 2013: Focus on the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC).
Each webinar will be presented live, with opportunities for learners to ask questions and receive answers. In addition, the recorded webinars will be available after the live presentations.
For more information and to register, visit the ASORN website at http://asorn.org/educational_programs/webinars or call the ASORN office at 415–561–8513.
The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) now offers Diabetes Resources: Know. Prevent. Control., which featuresresources on diabetes prevention, management, and care for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) in one convenient online location. Community organizations, health care providers, public health agencies, and others who work with these audiences will find culturally and linguistically tailored resources, materials to download, print, and give to patients and clients, and turnkey materials for media outreach.
A Diabetes Resources Catalog with special resources for AANHPI populations is also available. You can find these materials at http://1.usa.gov/RZfD7K or on CD, a valuable print alternative to the web collection. To order free copies, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and CDs will be shipped to you.
The Louisiana State University (LSU) Community University Partnership and the Fresh Cuts Clean Health (FCCH) Barbershop Initiative have teamed up with the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) to bring awareness of glaucoma to higher risk individuals, including African Americans age 40 and older, those who have a history of glaucoma and people with diabetes.
The FCCH Barbershop Initiative is an outreach program that targets African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos and provides free health screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes at area barbershops. It also provides follow-up outreach through educational programing. The initiative is modeled after the Los Angeles-based Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program.
To help FCCH spread important information about glaucoma and how people at risk can protect their sight, NEHEP provided glaucoma resources geared toward African American males during free health screenings and educational programs sponsored by FCCH. These resources included the Keep Vision in Your Future Glaucoma Toolkit, Don’t Lose Sight of Glaucoma brochure, Glaucoma: What Should You Know booklet, and a special barbershop flyer about glaucoma geared toward African American males.
For more information on the program and the LSU Community University Partnership, visit http://uiswcmsweb.prod.lsu.edu/edco/cup/.
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) wants to know what you think about Outlook. Let us know what you find beneficial, ideas for content you would like to see in upcoming issues, or suggestions for improvement. We’re always interested in hearing about your eye health education efforts and especially how you have used NEHEP resources and materials.
Please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!