Transitions Optical and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) announced a national partnership to reach Hispanic communities with eye health information. Transitions Optical has joined NAHN as a Corporate Member and will provide education to NAHN members on the higher risk for eye health issues among Hispanic Americans. Through the partnership, Transitions Optical will supply English and Spanish eye health materials, free of charge, though its Cultural Connections program, for NAHN members to share in their local communities.
“Nurses are on the front lines of patient care and are taking on increasing responsibilities for care coordination among multiple providers–placing them in a critical position of being able to identify patients at higher risk for eye health issues, and to encourage them to get the follow-up care they need,” says Celia M. Besore, executive director and CEO, NAHN. “At NAHN, we recognize that visual health is integral to overall health and wellbeing, and we are pleased to better serve our patients by adding eye health as a key education priority for our members to embrace over the coming years.”
Hispanics are at higher risk for serious sight-threatening issues, including macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. They are also more likely to have overall health issues, including diabetes and hypertension, which have eye health complications.[i] Despite their higher risk, only four in 10 Hispanics have had an eye exam within the past year,[ii] and nearly one-third incorrectly believe it is only necessary to protect the eyes from ultra-violet (UV) rays during spring and summer months.[iii] UV rays have been linked to serious eye health issues, including cataracts and macular degeneration.
“The goal of the Transitions Cultural Connections program is to raise awareness among diverse groups about the importance of getting regular eye exams and wearing the right eyewear to correct, enhance and protect their vision for the future,” says Manuel Solis, marketing manager, labs and strategic partnerships, Transitions Optical. “We believe that nurses provide an important touch point with consumers, often at points when they are diagnosed with or treated for health issues that have consequences for their vision, and we are honored to have a partner in the NAHN to bring eye health education to this at-risk population.”
According to Solis, all too often, permanent damage can occur to vision if people wait until they are experiencing vision issues before seeing their eye doctor. As a consequence of diabetes, for example, people can develop diabetic retinopathy, which damages blood vessels in the retina and is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. However, damage can be minimized or avoided with regular eyecare and proper treatment. According to the National Eye Institute, people with prolific (severe) diabetic retinopathy can reduce their risk of blindness by 95 percent with timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care. People with hypertension can also suffer eye damage, including damage to the retina and other structures of the eye, making regular vision check-ups highly important. Unfortunately, more than 40 percent of Hispanic Americans do not know that hypertension can impact the eyes.[iv]
The English and Spanish patient education resources to be utilized by NAHN members can be found at nahnnet.org/transitions_optical.html. Resources include Transitions Optical’s “What to Expect: Hispanic Eyes” brochure in English and Spanish, and a bilingual Eye Disease Diagnosis Guide.
As part of the partnership, Transitions Optical will also provide education to NAHN members on the unique eye health needs and risks of Hispanics during the NAHN National Conference, held July 15-18 in Miami, and NAHN Leadership Retreat in January 2015.
[i] “Cultural and Linguistic Considerations for Vision Care,” 2009.
[ii] Survey conducted in English by Wakefield on behalf of Transitions Optical, Inc. in February 2013 among a representative sample of 2,600 American adults.
[iii] Survey conducted in English by Wakefield on behalf of Transitions Optical, Inc. in April 2011 among a representative sample of more than 2,200 American adults.
[iv] Survey conducted in English by Wakefield Research on behalf of Transitions Optical, Inc. from September 18-21, 2012 among 1,500 employed American adults whose employers offer vision benefits.