Take care of seniors’ eyesight

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As you are well aware, the U.S. economy is experiencing a major downturn. Often when faced with tough economic times, our senior communities on fixed incomes hurt the most when their health care falls by the wayside. During our current financial crisis, I want to make sure their eye health is not neglected.

This holiday season, I urge readers to go online to find out if their loved ones qualify for a free eye exam from a national program called EyeCare America. This year-round program is designed for seniors age 65 and older who have not seen an ophthalmologist — a medical eye doctor — in three or more years.

Eligible patients will be matched with a nearby volunteer ophthalmologist. Seniors receive a comprehensive medical eye examination and up to one year of care for any disease diagnosed during the initial visit at no out-of-pocket cost.

Those interested can go to the EyeCare America website — eyecareamerica.org — to see if someone they know may qualify for medical eye care at no out-of-pocket cost. Connecting friends and family members with an eye exam may be the best gift of all — the gift of sight.

As one of 653 EyeCare America volunteer ophthalmologists in New York, I experience firsthand how providing a simple, medical eye exam can preserve sight. As program volunteers, we have agreed to waive Medicare or other insurance co-payments and unmet deductibles, resulting in no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. Seniors without insurance receive care at no charge.

Here in New York, 41,626 have been helped through EyeCare America.

EyeCare America is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc. with additional support provided by Alcon, which makes eyecare products.

I urge all readers to take advantage of this valuable program and give the gift of sight to a special senior in their life this holiday season.

Dr. Gary Hirshfield


New York State Ophthalmological Society

Fresh Meadows

Posted 7:13 pm, December 14, 2011
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