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WebMD and Medscape Launch Online Consumer Education Portal

WebMD Health and Bausch + Lomb  introduced a suite of online resources designed to improve eye health in America. The new resources on WebMD and Medscape will educate consumers about the importance of maintaining good eye health, as well as the connection between other prevalent health conditions, to encourage them to connect with an eyecare professional to discuss how they can protect and enhance their vision.

“Eye heath is an under-served but critically important issue, and one that is becoming even more important as our population ages,” says Brent Saunders, chief executive officer of Bausch + Lomb.  “We are dedicated to elevating the eye health discussion among medical professionals and the patients they serve, and we truly believe this new collaboration with WebMD will help further this discussion between the two more than ever before.”

The companies hope the new site will encourage an overall healthier approach to life. “WebMD is dedicated to providing the most advanced resources to support a healthy lifestyle, which includes care of your vision from birth through later years of life,” says Wayne Gattinella, WebMD president and chief executive officer. “WebMD is proud to collaborate with Bausch + Lomb to bring consumers and physicians a new set of online resources to help them make the critical connection between eye health and their overall health and wellness.”

According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 million people have low vision. The National Eye Institute estimates that over the next thirty years, the number of Americans that experience these serious eye health issues will double because of aging Baby Boomers. Additionally, the demand for vision services is expected to expand within the US healthcare system by 2015 due to age-related eye disease.

Helping Consumers Make the Eye Health Connection
The consumer resources at WebMD will feature assessments to improve eye health knowledge, editorial features, and expert-led videos regarding common eye concerns, as well as steps to preserve healthy vision through every stage of life.

The new consumer (www.webmd.com/eye-health) and professional (www.medscape.com ) resources were introduced to coincide with the 2011 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Medscape’s industry leading team of journalists will feature comprehensive conference coverage of the conference on Medscape.com.  

Helping Medical Professionals Connect with Patients
On Medscape, eye health professionals can engage in a clinician challenge, and explore clinical topics, imagery and new information about overall eye health. The medical destination also allows professionals to engage in peer-to-peer discussions with their colleagues in a registration-based eye health community.  Initial discussion board topics include: breakthrough platforms for cataract surgery, ocular nutrition, visual acuity and bio-inspired eye health products. Medical professionals also will be able to explore related resources and information in the Bausch + Lomb Eye Health Center, which can be found on the site.
“Making sure that professionals have the right tools to better serve their patients is the foundation of our commitment to helping people see better to live better,” says Dr. Calvin Roberts, chief medical officer of Bausch + Lomb. “This collaboration helps elevate the eye health discussion between providers and patients, a critical component to ensuring the proper course for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.”   

Medscape’s online resources will reach Ophthalmologists and Optometrists and will also reach health-care professionals in related fields who play a primary role in the prevention and treatment of eye-related conditions or treat systemic conditions commonly associated with co-morbidities of the eye. These fields include: pediatrics, cardiology, diabetes/endocrinology, obstetrics and gynecology, allergy/otolaryngology/ENT and primary care.

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