In this issue:
During my tenure as chair of the Planning Committee from 2009–2014, I have witnessed meaningful growth in the reach of the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP). Its programs on diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, vision and aging, low vision, and its Hispanic/Latino outreach program ¡Ojo con su visión! (Watch out for your vision!) have helped build a bridge between the academic research environment and communities at higher risk for eye diseases and conditions by bringing them evidence-based eye health information to help them prevent vision loss and blindness. In this, my last introduction to Outlook as chair, I would like to thank each and every one of the past and current members of the NEHEP Planning Committee, the NEHEP staff, and all of our Partnership organizations who work so diligently to help Americans make vision health a priority.
I would also like to acknowledge a guiding principle in my professional work, namely that we can always do better. NEHEP funding is a scarce resource, which I believe obligates us to do our very best in utilizing it to advance the public interest. Accordingly, I believe it is important to recognize both areas of success and areas of ongoing need.
The 2012–2017 NEHEP Five Year Agenda was developed to guide our eye health education activities. At roughly the half-way mark, we have made significant progress in meeting each of our goals and objectives. By building collaborations across the country and utilizing both traditional and social media, NEHEP has expanded its capacity to deliver eye health information to high-risk populations. Our outreach efforts have included articles, interviews with journalists, public service announcements, webinars, a web-based training tutorial, infographics posted on social media pages, and training of community health workers around the country in both English and Spanish. We have also developed educational toolkits to help build community capacity to address diabetes-related eye care, glaucoma, and other age-related eye diseases and to promote the benefits of vision rehabilitation.
I am proud to have been part of the team that has pursued these important initiatives. NEHEP must always strive to use effective health education strategies that are culturally tailored to meet people where they are. The continuing imperative is to raise awareness about vision health and blindness prevention, especially among those who don’t even know they are at elevated risk for vision loss.
The National Eye Institute projects that a growing number of people will be affected by eye disease. Specifically, it is estimated that by 2030, more than 11 million Americans will have diabetic retinopathy, 4.3 million will have primary open-angle glaucoma, 3.7 million will have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), 39 million will have cataracts, and 5 million will be living with low vision. It is more important than ever to work together to enhance the visibility of steps people can take to protect their sight and encourage those living with low vision to seek vision rehabilitation services.
As National Diabetes Month approaches in November, followed by Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, I want to continue to promote the year-round message to all eye care providers, community health workers, and other health professionals and Partnership organizations to emphasize the importance of comprehensive dilated eye exams for early detection. Research shows that 95 percent of severe vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented through early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care; early detection is also crucial for the prevention of vision loss from other eye diseases like glaucoma and AMD. I also want to urge you to stay engaged with NEHEP, making use of the wide variety of resources in English and Spanish that you can share with patients and others in your community, whether directly in your practice, in your newsletters, on your websites, or on your social media pages.
Although my term as chair ends with this calendar year, I will look forward to continuing my role as an ambassador for NEHEP and its important work. Translating eye and vision research into programs for professionals and the public is a crucial public-health imperative in support of our mission to advance the vision health of all Americans. Together, we can make a difference.
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 School of Public Health
When I joined the National Eye Institute (NEI) in 1989, the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) was just a concept. For the next 2 years, I personally met with organizations, listening to their concerns and advice. We conducted focus groups to learn more about our audiences—people with diabetes and those at higher risk for glaucoma. Based on what we learned, materials and educational programs were developed and tested. We conducted the first knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) survey in collaboration with the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Most important, we learned, as Helen Keller once said, “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” From the beginning, NEI knew it could not do all this alone. We needed to work together with others, so we formed the NEHEP Partnership. At the time, this Partnership consisted of 37 organizations concerned about eye health, particularly glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. After 2 years of hard work, together we launched NEHEP on December 12, 1991.
Developing the foundation of NEHEP has been the shining star in my 40-year career. Starting as the health education coordinator for NEHEP, I was fortunate to work with colleagues across the country whom I admired and respected. Along the way, we encountered many challenges, yet none proved too great as we worked together. Although working with the NEHEP Partnership was exciting, it was working on activities at the local level that won my heart. Prior to coming to NEI, I worked with local communities and places of worship in Chicago, conducting cancer prevention programs. I have always believed that it is through community-based programs that we can make the biggest difference. In fact, early on, the theme behind our programs was making a difference. I guess that is why I have always had a special place in my heart for Lions Clubs. Using NEHEP as a model, I have worked closely with Lions Clubs to help them develop their own Lions eye health programs, and Lions Clubs throughout the country have worked with local partnership organizations to educate people about taking care of their eyes and preventing blindness.
As NEHEP director from 1994 to 2010, I was able to watch NEHEP grow. In 1999, we launched the Low Vision Education Program. While developing it, I found my true passion—working with and for people with low vision. While developing this program, I was fortunate to meet two women who have been inspirations to me, the late Mary Bailey and Ruth Lotz. I have learned so much from them professionally and personally. I enjoyed working on this program so much, I continued supporting low vision efforts even after I stepped down as NEHEP director.
Today, NEHEP continues to be a model program at NEI and the National Institutes of Health. After 25 years, I am retiring. I turned the reins over to Neyal Ammary-Risch in 2010, and she continues to build on the high standards set for NEHEP. Neyal will carry on the tradition of outstanding outreach programs to help those at higher risk for eye disease.
I want to thank everyone I have worked with in the NEHEP Partnership, in the NEHEP Planning Committee, and in local communities across the country. I leave behind a program that can make us all proud. My wish for all of you is to continue the work started 25 years ago, work together to accomplish more, and help all Americans save their precious sight. Thank you for 25 years of great memories, and as country singer Tim McGraw said, “Carry on.”
Rosemary “Rosie” Janiszewski
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much – Helen Keller
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) is pleased to welcome the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) to the NEHEP Partnership.
The NHCOA works to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and their caregivers. It has been a strong voice dedicated to promoting, educating, and advocating for research, policy, and practice in the areas of economic security, health, and housing for more than 30 years. To achieve its mission, NHCOA developed a Hispanic Aging Network (HAN) of community-based organizations across the continental United States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that reaches millions of Latinos each year. NHCOA works closely with HAN members to implement culturally, linguistically, and age-sensitive programs and conduct targeted research projects, as well as mobilize Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers around policy issues that impact their wellbeing. NHCOA works with the network to ensure it has access to the tools, resources, research, program models, and best practices to better serve Latino seniors across the country.
NEHEP is excited to have NHCOA join our efforts in raising awareness about eye health among older Hispanics. To learn more about the NEHEP Partnership, visit www.nei.nih.gov/nehep/about/partnership.
November is National Diabetes Month, a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the need for people with diabetes to have comprehensive dilated eye exams at least once a year. Diabetic eye disease is a complication of diabetes that includes cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma, all of which can lead to vision loss or blindness when left untreated. There are often no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic eye disease, but it can be detected before noticeable vision loss occurs. Even more important to note is that 95% of severe vision loss from diabetes can be prevented through early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up.
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) has a variety of materials in English and Spanish to help you share information with people with diabetes in your community, as well as with family, friends, and colleagues. The following are examples of resources, with ideas about how to use them. You can find these, as well as additional ideas, on the NEHEP National Diabetes Month resource page.
Diabetic Eye Disease Infographic
Share this infographic on diabetic eye disease, which provides at-a-glance information about diabetic eye disease, prevalence rates, risk factors, and how people can protect their vision if they have diabetes. You can link to this infographic from your social media outlets or add it to an article, story, newsletter, or website.
Diabetic Eye Disease Social Media Resources
Visit our Pinterest board on diabetic eye disease to find a variety of resources from NEHEP and its partners that you can share. Use our social media toolkit and ready-to-post Facebook and Twitter messages that you can copy and share on your pages.
Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit and Online Training Course
Use the Diabetes and Health Eyes Toolkit to address diabetic eye disease in diabetes self-management classes or community workshops. An online tutorial will guide you step-by-step on how to use the toolkit and all of its components. Take the online course and order or download a toolkit. Everything you need to know about diabetic eye disease and how to conduct an educational session is in the tutorial, including interactive features like knowledge checks and downloadable materials.
Diabetic Eye Disease: An Educator’s Guide
Have a one-on-one educational session or conduct a small group session to talk with patients about diabetic eye disease. This educator’s guide is formatted as a desktop flipchart with text to guide discussions and illustrations to show patients. It includes a CD that features modules patients can use on their own, a PowerPoint slide presentation, and presentations that can be printed in PDF format.
Diabetic Eye Disease Education Website
Link others to this consumer-friendly site where they can learn about early detection, timely treatment, and follow-up care for diabetic eye disease. They'll also find information on organizations that provide financial assistance for eye care and sample questions to ask an eye care professional. Post a link to the website on your intranet or website, and include information about the website in emails and newsletters to your constituents.
Other NEHEP resources include the following:
- An animation showing how diabetic retinopathy affects the eyes, which you can embed on your website or share through your social media outlets.
- An animation of a dilated eye exam to help people learn what an eye care provider sees and what they look for when checking for signs of disease.
- A diabetic eye disease video featuring a researcher from the National Eye Institute talking about early detection and treatment, which you can post on your website and share with others.
- Ready-to-publish drop-in articles you can add to your website, newsletter, or blog to raise awareness about the increase in prevalence of diabetic eye disease over the next 40 years and steps people can take to reduce vision loss.
- The photonovella ¡Ojo con su visión! (Watch Out for Your Vision!), which you can distribute at community clinics and centers, libraries, and houses of worship to help Hispanics/Latinos better understand diabetes and the importance of having a dilated eye exam at least once a year.
- The Don’t Lose Sight of Diabetic Eye Disease brochure, which informs people with diabetes about how to minimize their risk of vision loss from diabetes. Encourage eye care professionals in your community to make it available to their patients. Leave a copy and be sure to provide information about how they can order it. If you work with diabetes self-management programs, give it to patients. Distribute it at local clinics and other community-based settings.
- Downloadable print and radio public service announcements (PSAs) about diabetic eye disease are available. Ask the editor of your local newspaper to run the print PSAs, or use them in your own publications or social media outlets. Use ready-made scripts to record PSAs that your organization can play on your hold line or to distribute to local radio stations.
For more resources and ideas, visit http://www.nei.nih.gov/nehep/NDM.
This just in! The National Eye Institute (NEI) has created a new video animation of a dilated eye exam. The video takes a look inside the eye to demonstrate what a doctor sees during an exam, pointing out the parts of the eye as well as signs of common eye diseases. The video also explains why dilated eye exams are important and when individuals should receive them. We encourage you to use this educational resource in presentations and with patients and to share it with others via your social media outlets or on your website.
Visit NEI’s YouTube channel to watch the animation and find other eye health videos available from NEI.
An infographic is a graphic visual representation that presents information, data, and statistics in a simple, clear way. A great infographic reveals patterns in massive amounts of abstract data and presents important information in concrete ways. The National Eye Institute (NEI) and its National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) have created a variety of eye health infographics to help share information about eye diseases and conditions as well as the importance of comprehensive dilated eye exams. Infographics that highlight diabetic eye disease, cataract, low vision, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, vision and aging issues, and general eye health are available, as well as infographics focused on Hispanics/Latinos.
You can share these infographics with your networks to bring attention to eye health. They are perfect to use in your social media outlets or to add to an article, story, newsletter, or website.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) is pleased to announce that new evidence-based continuing medical education (CME) credits are now available. ReachMD, a producer and distributor of healthcare information and education for medical professionals, launched this eye health education initiative in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, NEI, and the Society for Women’s Health Research. There are 12 CME programs focusing on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and glaucoma. These certified activities are supported by Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, Genentech, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
“NEI is excited to team with this esteemed group of collaborative educators,” says Emily Chew, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications at NEI. “These programs will educate healthcare professionals about widespread ocular conditions that impact millions of Americans. ReachMD is an ideal platform to raise awareness of this important health issue.”
CME activities utilize engaging and user-friendly formats, including expert interviews, grand rounds, online lectures, and more. Learning objectives of the programs include the following:
- Effectively evaluate and utilize current and new diagnostic testing modalities to assist in the early diagnosis of AMD, cataracts, and glaucoma.
- Discuss evidence-based information regarding the treatment of cataracts and glaucoma.
- Develop a practice management model that improves efficiency and quality of care for patients.
To register for these free CMEs, visit http://www.nei.nih.gov/resources/evidence_based.
The Ventanilla de Salud program, or Health Windows, is a bi-national program designed to improve the physical and mental health of the Mexican population living in the United States. The program facilitates access to primary and preventive healthcare services, access to culturally sensitive services, and establishes continuing care. Ventanillas programs can be found throughout the Mexican consular network, which includes 50 sites across the United States that provide information, education, and referrals. The most sought after Ventanilla services include health screenings, educational workshops and information sessions, and individual counseling.
Over the past two years, the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) and Ventanillas have worked closely to increase access to eye health information for Mexican Americans, a population at higher risk for vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. In 2013, NEHEP facilitated a webinar to introduce Ventanillas community health workers (CHWs) to eye health resources, including the Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit. The Government of Mexico’s Department of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs purchased copies of the toolkit for each consulate to ensure all of their CHWs had access to this important resource. In July 2014, the Ventanillas program invited NEHEP to their annual conference to deliver an in-depth session on using the toolkit.
As a result of this collaboration, one of the most popular Ventanillas workshops has become a session on diabetic eye disease. Ventanillas CHWs use the Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit to describe what people living with diabetes can do to protect their vision. These kits are used in both group and individual counseling sessions where follow-up referrals are made to connect participants to care. The toolkit has now become a regular resource for people seeking information on maintaining healthy vision.
People with diabetes or at higher risk of developing diabetes often report that the information provided by NEHEP is vital to making lifestyle changes that will help them protect their sight. Family members of persons living with diabetes also share their concerns about loved ones and feel they can help them in the process of maintaining healthy vision.
The Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit is a valuable addition to the Ventanillas holistic approach to fostering a culture of health care that includes educational and informational materials on many health topics, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and nutrition, reproductive health, and mental/occupational health.
Want to make a greater difference in the lives of your patients with diabetes? Play a bigger role in their care by teaming up with other healthcare providers. To help you do this, the National Diabetes Education Program has created the free online resource, Working Together to Manage Diabetes Toolkit.
This newly enhanced toolkit was designed especially for pharmacists, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists, and other providers who are often the first to see a person with—or at risk for—diabetes. Using this toolkit in your practice will help you to better recognize the early danger signs of diabetes, decrease the risk of complications, and manage medication therapy.
The Working Together to Manage Diabetes Toolkit features a comprehensive, easy-to-use guide, a customizable PowerPoint presentation, and user-friendly patient fact sheets and checklists in English and Spanish. You can access and download these materials at http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/ndep/ppod.htm.
The Department of Social Work of the College of Health Sciences of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) welcomed the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) on August 2 to El Paso for the second time to host a training workshop on diabetic eye disease. UTEP is located in the largest border metropolitan area of the world—the urban center of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.
Forty three community health workers (CHWs), or promotoras, originally trained by Familias Triunfadoras, Inc.—a community-based organization and lead trainer in CHW certification in West Texas—participated in an eight-hour training to learn how to increase awareness among community members and health workers on preserving sight and preventing blindness. The training was led by NEHEP and conducted in Spanish. It introduced participants to the NEHEP’s Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit. CHWs had the opportunity to learn about diabetes, its various eye complications, and the importance of annual comprehensive dilated eye exams for people with diabetes. CHWs also had the opportunity to practice using the educational resources and discuss how to use the materials in community settings. NEHEP has trained 68 CHWs in the prevention of vision loss in El Paso since 2013.
The workshop featured Dr. Alejandro Chávez, an optometrist who reinforced the importance of providing culturally and linguistically sensitive care. He also dedicated time to answer CHW’s questions about vision problems.
Of the residents of El Paso, 81 percent are of Hispanic or Latino origin, 74 percent speak a language other than English at home, and 26.5 percent are foreign born (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). El Paso County is one of the poorest areas in Texas; nearly 30 percent of individuals live under the federal poverty level. There is a severe shortage of health and human services professionals and workers in this high-poverty region. As a result, Familias Triunfadoras, Inc., has trained and certified more than 300 CHWs in the past seven years to work in multicultural settings. CHWs are prepared to work in border and underserved communities and act as cultural and linguistic brokers to connect people with services. The CHWs are excellent navigators of services and community health education. Participants are motivated by the challenge the workshop presented and committed to organize “charlas” or “presentations” in their communities, churches, clinics, centers, neighborhoods, and schools.
Special thanks to Dr. Eva M. Moya and Dr. Silvia Chavez Baray, from the Department of Social Work at UTEP for coordinating the workshop.
For more information on UTEP, visit http://www.utep.edu/.
What is color blindness? How do optical illusions work? The National Eye Institute (NEI) Ask a Scientist video series answers these questions and more. The videos are a fun way to help kids learn about their eyes and about careers in science and vision. These videos, produced by NEI, are the latest addition to the Educational Resources for Children Web page. The Web page also has tips for elementary and middle school children on protecting their eyes while playing sports and activities.
October is Health Literacy Month, and health professionals can participate by educating themselves and their colleagues, getting trained, and using new resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC hosts a health literacy website (www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy) with online training and tools that are practical for everyday use.
CDC has added four new courses to the Find Training section on writing for the public; speaking with the public; and using numbers, charts, and lists in public health communication. CDC also points visitors to other free or low-cost health literacy training courses from reliable sources. Take one of these courses with free continuing education credits.
The website also offers tips and tools on developing materials using health literacy principles and assessing your organization to see how well it addresses health literacy issues for the populations served. For example, the Develop Materials tab includes sections on guidance and standards, plain language, and testing materials. The Plan and Act tab includes tools that staff can use to evaluate organizational practices against health literacy benchmarks.
CDC’s website also links to the CDC Clear Communication Index (www.cdc.gov/ccindex), a research-based tool with criteria for clear communication writing, organization, and design. The Index has 4 questions and 20 scored items that public health communicators can use to design new communication products or assess existing products. The Index can be used as a paper score sheet, an online fillable form, or a scoring widget that you can embed in your own website.
Everyone can take at least one action to build a more health literate society, and CDC’s online resources make it easier than ever to find what you need.
The American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses (ASORN) has always been considered a leader in continuing education for eye nurses, but this year several members have literally gone out of their way to achieve that goal.
At the request of UCLA, ASORN board member Robert Welch, MSN, FNP, APRN, and ASORN Insight Editor-in-Chief Jonel Lindsay Gomez, MSN, FNP, APRN, traveled with a group to Hong Kong this past March. They visited the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, where they provided continuing education to more than 60 registered nurses. Together, Welch and Gomez gave more than 1,000 PowerPoint presentations over the course of 5 days for 8 hours per day. Topics included, but were not limited to, ocular anatomy, anterior segment surgery, cornea disorders, neuro-ophthalmology, ocular plastic surgery, vitreous-retinal surgery, ocular trauma, and postoperative patient care. The presentations were a huge success and received high marks from the administrative staff and participants.
In July, ASORN board member Kari Magill, RN, traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, to give a presentation on advances in ophthalmic nursing to the Thai Ophthalmic Nurses and Staff Society. This meeting was held in conjunction with the First Annual Congress of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The association includes Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore. Nurses from these countries attended the meeting.
Magill’s presentation included information on the typical career path of an ophthalmic registered nurse in the United States, ASORN and how it functions, and the challenges and rewards of ophthalmic nursing practice. She also described her involvement in the preparation and execution of the first U.S. implantation of Second Sight’s Argus II retinal implant. During her presentation, Magill found that though she was describing the latest in ophthalmic technology, her key principles were the same as those expressed by the physician keynote speaker: the necessity of taking a team approach for success and the ultimate joy in sharing the experience of patients regaining vision.
ASORN is proud to be recognized as the premier expert in the field of ophthalmic nursing both in the United States and abroad and looks forward to future opportunities to exchange knowledge and skills with international colleagues.
For more information, contact ASORN manager Caitlin Nimmo at email@example.com.
In June, Prevent Blindness released the report, The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems, at its Focus on Eye Health National Summit in Washington, D.C. This new report projects future costs and prevalence rates of eye diseases and conditions. It estimates that annual costs will reach $384 billion by 2032 and $717 billion by 2050.
In addition, the report found a significant increase in eye disease in Hispanic/Latino populations and the continued trend of higher eye disease rates in women.
The Future of Vision study, conducted by researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago, can be found at preventblindness.org/futureofvision.
For more information about the Prevent Blindness Future of Vision report, the Focus on Eye Health National Summit, or other vision-related topics, please visit http://www.preventblindness.org or call 800–331–2020.
The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) is the leading association for diabetes educators, with more than 14,000 members. AADE advocates on behalf of diabetes educators and the patients they serve, ensuring widespread recognition of the benefits of diabetes education.
AADE focuses on professional development, advocacy and reimbursement, research, and awareness programs. It offers educators continuing education opportunities in all areas of diabetes and chronic care management, and it actively promotes the value of diabetes educators to patients, physicians, and the general public through media relations and comprehensive communications campaigns.
As part of its education efforts, AADE created the Diabetes Complications Prompt Deck: Educator Guide, which includes references to National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) diabetic eye disease resources, including Diabetic Eye Disease: An Educator’s Guide.
In addition to taking an active role in celebrating National Diabetes Month every November, AADE also sets aside the first full week of November as National Diabetes Education Week to promote public awareness of diabetes educators and the key role they play in diabetes care.
For more information on AADE, go to http://www.diabeteseducator.org.
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) regularly presents at national meetings across the country. Presentations provide an opportunity to share information and publications, promote NEHEP messages and resources, and strengthen links with Partnership and other intermediary organizations. A list of upcoming NEHEP presentations follows. If you plan to attend, please stop by and say, “Hello!”.
American Public Health Association
142nd Annual Meeting and Exposition
November 15–19, 2014
New Orleans, LA
- In the news: Bringing eye health information to mainstream media
- Building the capacity of community health workers to deliver eye health information: Results of a national training effort
- Glaucoma “en español:” Adapting educational resources for use with Hispanics/Latinos
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!