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The Best Things in Life are Free

During February’s Valentine’s Promotion EyeCare America Offers No-Cost Medical Eye Care to Qualified Seniors

National Campaign Reminds Seniors: "The Best Things in Life are FREE!"
including an eye exam and a book of eye-healthy dessert recipes

February 2, 2009 – San Francisco, CA - This February, EyeCare America is reminding seniors that sometimes, "The Best Things in Life are Free,” and, that you can’t put a price tag on love, friendship or the importance of eye sight. This Valentine’s Day campaign encourages those age 65 and older to call EyeCare America’s Seniors EyeCare Program to see if they qualify for a free exam.

EyeCare America’s national Valentine’s Day health campaign runs through the month of February encouraging people to call the EyeCare America Seniors EyeCare Program. This program offers eye exams and up to one year of medical care at no out-of-pocket cost for seniors who are without an ophthalmologist (a medical eye doctor). To see if you, a loved one or a friend, 65 and older, is eligible to receive a referral for an eye exam and care, call 1-800-222-EYES (3937). The Seniors EyeCare Program help line operates 24 hours a day, every day, year-round.

“Blindness and vision impairment have enormous personal, social and economic costs, limiting the activities of otherwise healthy and active people,” said Richard P. Mills, MD. “By increasing awareness of eye disease, its risk factors and connecting more people with the exams and care they need, EyeCare America works to reduce preventable blindness in the U.S. thereby allowing our seniors to live more fulfilling and active lives.”

As part of this national campaign, celebrity chefs from around the country have contributed delicious eye-healthy desserts for two that are perfect accompaniment to any romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.  All recipes are made with foods filled with eye healthy vitamins and antioxidants both of which have been proven to help preserve eyesight. Recipes can be found online at: www.eyecareamerica.org. Visitors are encouraged to download the recipe cards and share them with a loved one. The complete set of eye-healthy dessert recipe cards makes a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift. And, they’re FREE!

EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, operates one of the largest programs of its kind in American medicine. All eligible callers receive a referral to one of 7,000 ECA volunteer ophthalmologists.  The seniors program provides a comprehensive eye exam and care for any disease detected in the initial visit for up to one year, at no out-of-pocket cost.

EyeCare America's Seniors EyeCare Program is designed for people who:
-
Are U.S. citizens or legal residents
- Are age 65 and older
- Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years
- Do not belong to an HMO or the VA


For a Seniors EyeCare Program referral, those interested may call the toll-free help line 1.800.222.EYES (3937). The Seniors EyeCare Program help line operates all day, every day, year-round.

Volunteer physicians have agreed to accept Medicare or other insurance as payment in full, resulting in no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. Individuals without insurance of any kind are seen at no charge.

The Seniors EyeCare Program is designed for seniors without an ophthalmologist and is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. 

About EyeCare America

Established in 1985, EyeCare America, the public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is committed to the preservation of sight, accomplishing its mission through public service and education.  EyeCare America provides eye care services to the medically underserved and for those at increased risk for eye disease through its corps of 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists dedicated to serving their communities.  More than 90 percent of the care made available is provided at no out-of-pocket cost to the patients.  EyeCare America includes programs for seniors, glaucoma, diabetes, AMD and children, and is the largest program of its kind in American medicine.  Since its inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 1 million people.  EyeCare America is a non-profit program whose success is made possible through charitable contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.  More information can be found at: www.eyecareamerica.org

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MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Neves, Director of EyeCare America Communications – 415.561.8518, aneves@aao.org

NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: High-resolution images and b-roll as well as interviews with EyeCare America spokespeople, physicians and patients available upon request.

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