Allergan has announced a new initiative, Through See America, “to make vision health a priority for all Americans, increase awareness of the diseases that can cause preventable blindness and, critically, help improve access to vision care for those who need it most.”
The launch follows the release of a major report published in September 2016 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), declaring eye health a public health imperative. The report recognized the overwhelming number of Americans affected by blindness from preventable causes. NASEM is encouraging the whole country to prioritize proactive eyecare.
“Vision loss from diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy is affecting and destroying the lives of too many—with cases of preventable blindness increasing at such a frightening rate,” says Herm Cukier, senior vice-president, eyecare at Allergan. “We are launching See America to stress the importance of eye health. The time to act is now.”
Without a nationwide intervention, cases of preventable blindness and visual impairment are projected to double by 20501. At this rate, one American will experience partial or complete loss of sight every four minutes2– costing the U.S. economy trillions of dollars3 over the next 34 years.
Through See America, Allergan will partner with volunteer eye health and safety organization, Prevent Blindness, to champion better access to vision care. Through a series of vision-screening events in various cities, sponsored by Allergan, attendees will receive free one-on-one professional eye exams, follow-up treatment plans and education about the most common diseases affecting people’s vision. In addition to sponsoring Prevent Blindness, Allergan will seek partners for programs from like-minded organizations that support the goals of See America.
Many people are not aware of the perils associated with neglecting their vision. Currently, 61 million Americans are at risk of severe vision loss—more than the populations of California and Florida combined4. Yet, only half of those at risk visited an eye doctor in the last year5.
Board Certified Ophthalmologist, Elizabeth Yeu, MD, believes the key to effective treatment is early detection. “As an ophthalmologist, I’ve seen the endless ways in which vision loss burdens my patients’ lives,” says Yeu. “In certain cases, their vision loss could have been prevented if they had sought out treatment sooner. I’m so happy to be a part of this initiative to shine a spotlight on the problem and rally the support we need to affect change.”6
To learn more about See America, visit www.SeeAmerica.vision.
2 Varma, R et al, “Visual impairment and blindness in adults in the United States: Demographic and Geographic Variations from 2015 to 2050,” JAMA Ophthalmology