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News Release

May 19, 2014

Make Vision Health a Priority

BrightFocus Foundation Urges Regular Exams to Prevent Vision Loss

Clarksburg, MD—During May’s Healthy Vision Month, BrightFocus Foundation is encouraging regular, comprehensive eye exams to protect against vision loss. While some eye diseases have no warning signs until damage has been done, others may be minimized if detected and treated early.

“Too often, one overlooks their eyes when thinking about their overall health,” said Stacy Pagos Haller, BrightFocus President and CEO. “That is why BrightFocus is offering free resources to help people prevent and detect problems and save their sight.”

Approximately 11 million people in the U.S. have macular degeneration, a retinal disease that interferes with central, straight-ahead vision. Three million Americans have some form of glaucoma, but half may not be aware of this. Glaucoma affects peripheral vision and, if not detected early, can lead to complete blindness.

BrightFocus is encouraging individuals to schedule a comprehensive exam every one to two years, particularly for those at higher risk. For glaucoma, that includes people with a family history of glaucoma; those over the age of 60, particularly Hispanics; and African Americans over age 40.  For macular degeneration, being older than age 60 and having a family history of the disease can increase one’s risk, with non-Hispanic Caucasians more at risk for this diagnosis than African Americans or Hispanics.

A comprehensive exam can include several tests. Three of the most common are: a pupil dilation that allows the eye professional to see signs of disease; a visual acuity test of sight at various distances; and, when glaucoma is suspected, a tonometry test that measures the pressure inside the eye.

BrightFocus is offering the following free resources, many in both English and Spanish, by calling (800) 437-2423 or visiting http://www.brightfocus.org/may-is-healthy-vision-month.html

  • New Visual SnapShots, which graphically illustrate glaucoma and macular degeneration detection and treatment;
  • Brochures and fact sheets, such as Best Practices for Healthy Vision, providing healthy diet and tips for living with vision disease;
  • Top Five Questions to ask your doctor about vision disease;
  • Educational videos, including life-like computer animations of the eye, designed by Eyemaginations, Inc., of Baltimore, MD; and
  • Audio with helpful information from doctors and patients.

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BrightFocus Foundation (www.brightfocus.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing brain and eye health, by funding research worldwide on glaucoma, macular degeneration, and Alzheimer’s disease.  BrightFocus also provides the public with information about these diseases, including risk factors, current treatments, and coping strategies.


Michael Buckley, Vice President of Public Affairs
BrightFocus Foundation
Phone: (301) 556-9370; Email: mbuckley@brightfocus.org

Alice L. Kirkman, Marketing and Communications Manager
BrightFocus Foundation
Phone: (301) 556-9349; Email: akirkman@brightfocus.org

Last Review: 05/19/14

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