In this issue:
Although summer is often a time for slowing down and soaking up the sun (while wearing sunglasses with UVA/B protection and sunblock of course), things have never been busier for the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP). Planning is already underway for Healthy Aging® Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and National Diabetes Month activities this fall, and we’re in the middle of some exciting new projects.
In just a few weeks we’ll be hosting a webinar in collaboration with the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net) on new advances in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. We’re really excited to have world-renowned retina experts Dr. Emily Chew, deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institute (NEI), and Dr. Judy Kim, vice-chair of DRCR.net and NEHEP Planning Committee member from the Medical College of Wisconsin, as co-presenters. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults in the United States, and for the first time in years, newer and better treatment options are available to help prevent vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes. I hope you can join us on July 21 at 2:00 p.m. If you can’t make the live webinar, it will be recorded and posted to the NEHEP website.
We’re also putting the final touches on our new Spanish version of the See Well for a Lifetime Toolkit offered through our Vision and Aging Program. It will be available online in just a few weeks and provides health and community professionals who work with aging Hispanics/Latinos with tools to inform them about protecting eye health as they age and how to live independently with low vision. We’d like to extend our gratitude to the National Association for Hispanic Elderly, Casa de Amigos de Texas, EyeCare America, Indiana University School of Optometry, Lighthouse of Broward County, Unidad de Miami, and the University of Texas at El Paso Department of Social Work for their help with the content review and audience testing. As with all NEHEP resources, input from our partners and community members is essential to make them culturally and linguistically appropriate for the audiences we serve.
Although NEI is downsizing its publications warehouse and we won’t be able to provide organizations with as many print materials as in the past, we want to remind you about all the great electronic and social media resources available to you. Our YouTube channel has more than 100 animations, videos, recorded webinars, and more that you can post on your website or share with others. The NEHEP Flickr page offers a wide variety of infocards, infographics, and public service announcements in English and Spanish that you can share through your social media platforms, in your newsletters, and other publications. The NEHEP website is also a rich resource of downloadable teaching tools, fact sheets, publications, and so much more. Our goal is to make sure we continue to equip you with a wide variety of science-based resources to help you convey the importance of eye health and blindness prevention.
The NEHEP webpages are undergoing a complete redesign, and soon finding eye disease information and educational resources to conduct your outreach programs will be even easier. Everything you need to know about the NEHEP program areas, the Partnership, and how to use all of the educational resources we offer will be at your fingertips. The new website, built with mobile and tablet responsiveness in mind, will be live later this summer, so stay tuned!
Planning Committee Corner: Helping deliver culturally-appropriate eye information to Hispanics/Latinos
Helping deliver culturally-appropriate eye information to Hispanics/Latinos
Eduardo Alfonso, M.D., Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, NEHEP Planning Committee Member
As eye care professionals, we actively work to treat our patients and provide the best care we can to prevent vision loss and blindness. But often our ability to prevent vision loss starts well before a patient steps foot in our clinic—it starts in our communities. Educating people about the importance of regular comprehensive dilated eye exams and proper eye health and safety practices is imperative, especially among Hispanics/Latinos.
Research supported by the National Eye Institute and the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) has found that Hispanics/Latinos face significant disparities in eye health. They report the lowest access to eye health information and are the least likely to have their eyes examined compared to other populations. We know they place high value on their eyesight, but that contradicts their eye health practices. This is where we as health professionals can make a difference.
I see Hispanic/Latino patients with varying degrees of vision loss every day. Culturally, some believe that losing their sight “was meant to be”. There’s so much health and community professionals can do to guide, motivate, and encourage them to protect their vision and clarify this myth by letting them know we can detect eye diseases and conditions in their earliest stages and prevent unnecessary vision loss and blindness.
Both Hispanic Heritage Month and Healthy Aging® Month coming up in September offer great opportunities to get out in the community and promote awareness about eye health. We can conduct educational sessions at community events and talk to people about diseases that put them at higher risk for vision impairment. Of particular concern are diseases that have no early symptoms, such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease.
Fortunately, through its ¡Ojo con su visión!, or “Watch out for your vision!” Program, NEHEP provides science-based, culturally appropriate resources that we can use anywhere—at health fairs, in clinics, at faith-based services, during charlas (group chats), at family events, in community settings, on our websites, on social media pages, or one-on-one with patients. These resources include toolkits, infographics, articles, brochures, social media messages, and so much more. These important resources are easily accessible through the NEHEP website.
Many Hispanics/Latinos may be afraid to talk with their doctors about their symptoms or have concerns about language barriers in health care. If you provide interpretation and translation services to patients with limited English proficiency, remember NEHEP has educational resources available in Spanish to help facilitate your conversation about eye diseases and conditions. NEHEP resources can serve as a starting point for conversations about the importance of regular eye exams and can help people get the information they need to make better decisions about their eye health.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) is downsizing its publications warehouse and the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) is offering bulk quantities of its educational materials free of charge to provide more opportunities for you to distribute them in your communities. Orders must be made by July 15, and can only be shipped to addresses in the United States and its territories.
Many NEHEP resources have already found good homes in clinics and academic, nonprofit, and community organizations around the country, and some materials are now available for download only. But, we still have materials to offer, especially in Spanish. The following materials are still available. Visit the NEI Publications Catalog to order before they’re gone!
- Diabetic Eye Disease: An Educator’s Guide in English or Spanish
- Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit in Spanish
- Don’t Lose Sight of Glaucoma brochure in English and Spanish
- Glaucoma Eye-Q Test in English and Spanish
- Watch Out for Your Vision: If You Have Diabetes booklet in Spanish
- Visión Saludable (Healthy Vision) booklet in Spanish
- Medicare benefit card in Spanish
If you have any questions, please send an email to email@example.com or call the NEI Communications Office at 301–496–5248.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) is excited to announce the launch of its new website, NEI for Kids. Designed for and tested by upper elementary and middle school children, the site makes learning about vision science and eye health fun. Children visiting the website will find:
- NEI's award-winning Ask a Scientist video series
- Optical illusions
- 10 healthy vision tips
- An animated video explaining the visual system
- And much more!
Share the NEI for Kids link, www.nei.nih.gov/kids, on your website, with parents, teachers, and kids, as well as via social media. Below are sample posts you can use and you can visit our Flickr page to find infocards to accompany the posts:
- Check out the National Eye Institute’s new eye health website for kids. It offers Q&A videos with scientists, cool eye tricks, and info on how our eyes work. Learning about vision just became fun! www.nei.nih.gov/kids
- @NatEyeInstitute launched a new kids site to make learning about #vision and #eye health fun. Visit www.nei.nih.gov/kids.
Early diagnosis, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can prevent or delay severe vision loss in more than 95% of patients with diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease and the leading cause of blindness in working age adults. Only half of all people with diabetes get annual comprehensive dilated eye exams, and people are diagnosed often at a stage when it may be too late for treatment to be effective. For the first time in decades, newer and better treatments for diabetic retinopathy are available to help further prevent vision loss and blindness.
On July 21 at 2:00 p.m. ET, the National Eye Institute (NEI) and its National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP), in collaboration with the NEI-funded Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net), will host a free webinar, “Advances in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy: Paradigm shifts in patient care and education.” Healthcare providers, eye health professionals, diabetes educators, community professionals, and others working with patients with diabetes are invited to register for this free event to learn about diabetic retinopathy and its various stages, the public health burden it represents, the latest advances in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, and educational resources available to promote the critical need for early detection.
Register now and please share this announcement with your colleagues.
September is Healthy Aging® Month, a perfect time to remind people that maintaining healthy vision is part of aging well. Eye health is a critical component of aging well and can have a significant effect on a person’s independence, productivity, and quality of life. There are many things we can do to raise eye health awareness among our aging communities. The Vision and Aging Program of the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) focuses on the eye health education needs of adults age 50 and older, and stresses the importance of comprehensive dilated eye exams, which can detect many age-related eye diseases early, before noticeable symptoms occur.
Research has shown that older adults value their vision but have limited knowledge about age-related eye diseases and conditions, and the critical role regular comprehensive dilated eye exams play in preserving sight. Age is a major risk factor in most eye diseases and conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye, glaucoma, and low vision.
To address the growing need for more eye health information, NEHEP developed an educational initiative focused on raising awareness among older Americans about their aging eyes. The NEHEP Vision and Aging Program provides health, social service, and community professionals with science-based, easy-to-understand tools and resources that can be used in community settings to educate older adults about eye health and maintaining healthy vision as they age. The initiative also reminds older adults that vision loss is not an inevitable part of aging.
The See Well for a Lifetime Toolkit is an online resource containing three modules that can be used individually or as a series to conduct educational workshops. Each includes a PowerPoint presentation, a speaker’s guide with detailed talking points, educational handouts, promotional announcements, and evaluation forms, among other materials. No previous knowledge of eye health is needed. The modules, Make Vision a Health Priority, Age-Related Eye Diseases and Conditions, and Low Vision, describe the importance of comprehensive dilated eye exams and steps older adults can take to protect their vision. They also provide an overview of common age-related eye diseases and conditions, describe the benefits of vision rehabilitation, and provide questions to ask an eye care professional, and information on where to find financial assistance for eye care.
NEHEP offers a variety of educational resources that can be used for Healthy Aging® Month and beyond, including a Medicare benefit card, an Aging and Your Eyes infographic, eye health videos, a recorded webinar on Educating Older Americans About Their Aging Eyes, a Vision and Aging Pinterest board, and a Living With Low Vision video. Check our Healthy Aging® Month web page soon for updated drop-in articles and infocards in English and Spanish and more. We also invite you to share with us how you are educating older adults about eye health, and let us know how we can support these efforts.
Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 through October 15) is the perfect time for community-based organizations, health professionals, and community health workers to raise awareness among Hispanic/Latino communities about taking care of their health, especially their vision. Hispanics/Latinos face significant disparities in eye health. Results from various studies supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI) have highlighted the need for eye health education for Hispanics/Latinos and the importance of effective patient-provider communication in reducing health disparities. While cultural beliefs, language, and acculturation may pose barriers to effective communication, there are opportunities to strengthen the dialogue between health professionals and Hispanics/Latinos about their visual health.
The NEI-funded Los Angeles Latino Eye Study, a population-based prevalence study of eye disease in Latinos age 40 years and older, found that Latinos (primarily of Mexican ancestry) have some of the highest rates of visual impairment, especially among older adults. In addition, eye disease frequently goes undetected in Hispanics/Latinos. Specifically, more than 60 percent of eye disease in Hispanics/Latinos is undiagnosed, including age-related macular degeneration (98 percent), cataract (57 percent), diabetic retinopathy (95 percent), glaucoma (82 percent), and refractive error (19 percent).
The National Eye Health Education Program’s (NEHEP) ¡Ojo con su visión!, or “Watch out for your vision!” program area is designed to promote eye health among Hispanics/Latinos and to assist health professionals and community health workers in educating them about eye health as well. NEHEP provides a wide variety of culturally and linguistically appropriate tools and resources, including teaching tools, brochures, print and radio public service announcements, infographics, infocards, videos, animations, and Spanish-language web pages. For example, our Healthy Eyes website in Spanish provides information about common eye diseases and conditions; comprehensive dilated eye exams; and early detection, treatment, and follow-up care for glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, low vision, and more.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing information with Hispanics/Latinos to help them celebrate the importance of healthy vision!
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) was awarded a ClearMark Award from the Center for Plain Language in May for its Spanish booklet, Cómo vivir con Baja Visión(Living with Low Vision). These awards are given for the best communications in plain language and recognize great writing and information design for the public. The NEHEP booklet, which describes low vision and its causes and vision rehabilitation, and features profiles of people describing how they’ve been able to maintain their independence and quality of life, was one of only three Spanish resources to receive an award. Competitors for ClearMark Awards include government agencies, hospitals, insurance companies, and consulting firms that produce information for the public.
In June, NEHEP and the National Eye Institute (NEI) won four Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards from the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC). In NAGC’s Social Media Category, NEHEP received an Award of Excellence for its Facebook page. NEHEP also won second place in the Promotional Campaigns Category for its National Diabetes Month 2015 campaign, which focused on raising awareness of diabetic eye disease and promoting the importance of comprehensive dilated eye exams.
NEI’s Ask a Scientist Video Series won an Award of Excellence in the K-12 Educational Programs Category for making learning about eyes fun for middle school children. Additionally, NEI received an Award of Excellence in the News Release Category for its press release, NIH Study Shows No Benefit of Omega-3 or Other Nutritional Supplements for Cognitive Decline.
NEI and NEHEP are honored to have been recognized by both of these organizations with such prestigious awards.
Several research groups funded through the National Eye Institute’s Audacious Goals Initiative (NEI AGI) are developing new imaging tools to see the eye in unprecedented detail. Researchers will use these tools to see individual nerve cells in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, and the optic nerve (the cable connecting the retina to the brain). They’ll go beyond examining the cells’ anatomy to measuring the cells’ function, asking not only whether the cells look healthy but whether they act healthy. Ultimately, this advanced imaging technology will be used to test the effects of potential regenerative therapies developed through the NEI AGI.
For more information and a look at some stunning images of the visual system captured by scientists—past and present—watch NEI’s new video about the AGI-supported imaging projects at http://bit.ly/1TKMQ5g.
Prevent Blindness and its partners will hold the fifth annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit on July 13, 2016, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Summit will include a variety of presentations on vision and public health, including:
- Prevention and Care of Eye Disease and Impaired Vision
- Paul Lee, M.D., J.D., University of Michigan
- Evidence-based Health Promotion Interventions for Vision Loss
- Kelly Muir, M.D., M.H.Sc., Duke University
- Implementing a National Strategy:
- The Australia Approach – Hugh Taylor, A.C., M.D., University of Melbourne
- The India Approach – Thulasiraj Ravilla, M.B.A., Aravind Eye Care System
- National Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System—Stakeholder Engagement:
- David Rein, Ph.D, NORC at the University of Chicago
- Jinan Saaddine, M.D., M.P.H., CDC Vision Health Initiative
- John Wittenborn, NORC at the University of Chicago
In addition, Prevent Blindness will present the Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health to Bruce Moore, O.D., Marcus Professor of Pediatric Studies at the New England College of Optometry. This award is presented annually to an individual, team, or organization that has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health at the community, state, or national level.
Attendees of this free event will include patient advocates, national vision and eye health organizations, government representatives, and community-based organizations. A live video stream of the presentations will be available for those unable to attend in person. You can also follow the event on Twitter at #eyesummit.
To register for the event or to learn more about the Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit, please visit http://preventblindness.org/eyesummit or call 800–331–2020.
State health departments and people interested in vision health are invited to join and participate in the Vision Health Initiative (VHI) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). VHI is a national program consisting of state and national partners collaborating to improve eye health, reduce vision loss and blindness, control eye diseases and eye injuries, and promote the health of people with vision loss.
VHI is currently engaged in several initiatives:
- Helping states incorporate vision and eye health into their current programs.
- Co-sponsoring a report on vision and public health by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine).
- Observing specific populations to identify vision health trends.
- Developing new ways to reach people at high risk for glaucoma.
VHI participants receive email updates on the most current vision health information available from the VHI team. Click here to subscribe, and visit VHI’s interactive data page and the VHI home page to learn more.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program, in partnership with NeedyMeds, is offering a new drug discount card to individuals, groups, and businesses. No membership or registration is required, and the card never expires. It is accepted at more than 65,000 pharmacies nationwide, including all major chains. Card owners will receive monthly card usage reports to track the drugs purchased, the savings, and more.
Who can use this card?
Anyone can use this card as often as needed. However, the card cannot be combined with other insurance plans, including Medicare, Medicaid or any state or federal prescription insurance.
What if I have insurance?
You can use the card instead of insurance if:
- A drug isn’t covered by your insurance.
- Your insurance has no drug coverage.
- You have a high drug deductible.
- You have met a low medicine cap.
- The card offers a better price than your copay.
- You are in the Medicare Part D “donut hole” or coverage gap.
What is covered?
Prescription drugs, medical supplies, and over-the-counter meds are covered if written on a prescription blank. Some pet prescription medications purchased at a pharmacy may also be covered.
Practitioners and organizations can order as many complimentary cards as desired by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Cards can be tailored with the organization’s name and logo, and the organization will receive monthly card usage reports. For more information, contact EyeCare America Director Betty Lucas at email@example.com or visit http://www.aao.org/eyecare-america/resources/medication-assistance.
The American Academy of Optometry’s 95th annual meeting will take place November 9–12, 2016, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. The annual meeting offers a wide variety of clinically relevant continuing education (CE) courses and cutting-edge research in the clinical and vision sciences.
The Academy will welcome world-renowned author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell to present the Plenary Session, “Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Practice: Current State of Health Care and Research.” Following the CE talk, Gladwell will host a separate panel discussion with members of senior management from the industry, addressing issues such as the value of ongoing research and the introduction of new products for the future.
The Joint American Academy of Optometry and American Academy of Ophthalmology Symposium will highlight keratitis in contact lens care. As medical devices, contact lenses have the potential to cause significant corneal morbidity. Several corneal responses will be examined, ranging from corneal inflammatory events to rare nonbacterial corneal infections. The symposium will share current literature and provide a discussion highlighting strategies to avoid serious sight-threatening complications.
The Monroe J. Hirsch Symposium, “The Distressed Eye: Ocular Pain,” will focus on several key aspects of ocular pain. Speakers will discuss sensory transduction and signaling in the eye, the psychophysical measurement of ocular surface pain and thermal sensing, and innovative treatment strategies.
The Ezell Fellows Present session will be titled “The Future of Optical Interventions Is Now.” Three investigators will focus on how contact lenses can provide value-added benefits beyond vision correction. The topics will include the current state of wavefront-guided scleral contact lenses for minimizing visual problems in the highly aberrated eye, and the latest developments in lens designs for myopia control and presbyopia.
For information and to register, visit http://www.aaopt.org/regsite.
The National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) at the National Institutes of Health has developed the Riñones, Tesoros toolkit to help promotores (health promoters) and other community health workers (CHWs) educate Hispanics living with diabetes about chronic kidney disease. The toolkit includes a bilingual training manual that provides a guided lesson plan with talking points, activities, and patient handouts; a flipchart; and additional class materials. Although the content is intended to complement existing diabetes education curricula, it also can be used as a standalone program. CHWs and promotores can use the toolkit wherever they teach in their community, including hospitals, health clinics, continuing education classes, schools, community centers, faith-based institutions, and homes.
To review or download the toolkit, visit the NKDEP website.
Did you know there is a research-based tool to help you develop and assess public communication materials for your office? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a Clear Communication Index Widget that you can make part of your website.
The Clear Communication Index is designed to help you communicate clearly with your intended audience. It has four introductory questions and 20 scored items drawn from scientific literature in communication and related disciplines. You can use the Index Widget in several ways:
- Inform the design and development of a new communication product.
- Assess the clarity of a communication product before or after public release.
- Foster discussion and collaboration between writers and reviewers before or during the clearance process as you work to attain scientific accuracy and clarity of content.
With just a click of your mouse, you can begin scoring and developing materials that enhance people's understanding of the message you want to deliver!
To access the Clear Communication Index Widget, or for more information on the Clear Communication Index, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/ccindex/index.html.
You can also copy the code below to add the Index Widget to your office website!
<iframe style=”width: 975px; height: 725px; border: none; position: relative;” src=”http://www.cdc.gov/ccindex/widget.html” title=”CDC Clear Communication Index” ><!– Widget from CDC.gov –></iframe>
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is an organization that partners with nonprofit organizations, government, and businesses to provide innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy for people ages 60 and up to meet the needs of the aging. The National Falls Prevention Resource Center, within the NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging, promotes eye health and the importance of regular eye exams for older adults for general healthy aging and as a way to reduce falls. Poor vision is a risk factor for falls and makes it harder for people to get around safely.
As a National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) Partnership organization, NCOA uses NEHEP resources to promote the importance of eye health for older adults. For example, in the January 2016 Center for Healthy Aging e-newsletter, NCOA wrote an article for Glaucoma Awareness Month and included links to the Glaucoma Facts for Community Organizations. In addition, the National Falls Prevention Resource Center shares NEHEP resources with Administration for Community Living falls prevention grantees for whom they provide technical assistance. These resources are also disseminated to falls prevention coalitions across the country and shared during conference calls and webinars.
Much of NCOA’s advocacy currently focuses on falls prevention. In 2015, 48 states and the District of Columbia participated in the seventh annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, with some states and local areas holding weeklong events. The activities included hosting local health fairs with falls risk screenings. One of the six steps to prevent a fall is getting an annual eye exam. Vision professionals are key partners with state and local falls prevention coalitions for Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
This year, the eighth annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day will be observed on September 22. This year’s theme, “Ready, Steady, Balance—Prevent Falls in 2016,” seeks to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers, and family members to play a part in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population.
For more information, visit NCOA’s falls prevention page at http://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention and explore the NCOA website at http://www.ncoa.org.
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) wants to know what you think about Outlook. Let us know what you find beneficial, ideas for content you would like to see in upcoming issues, or suggestions for improvement. We’re always interested in hearing about your eye health education efforts and especially how you have used NEHEP resources and materials.
Please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!