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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2010
COLUMBUS - Governor Ted Strickland has joined with the Ohio Department of Aging and Ohio's Aging Eye Public Private Partnership to proclaim April as Ohio Aging Eyes Month to promote awareness of age-related eye diseases that affect more than one million Ohioans.
"Blindness and vision impairment represent a significant burden not only to aging Ohioans, but also to their family and communities," said Governor Strickland. "Working together, the members of Ohio's Aging Eye Public Private Partnership are helping the state prepare for the early detection, treatment and rehabilitation services that will be needed as the baby boom generation ages and greatly increases the number of Ohioans at risk."
"The leading causes of vision impairment and blindness are primarily age-related eye diseases, which leads many to mistakenly believe that decreased eye sight is a necessary part of growing older," added Barbara E. Riley, director of the department. "In reality, half of all blindness can be prevented, but the key is to know the facts and have regular eye exams."
"Many seniors are not aware that most geriatric eye diseases slowly steal vision, without any noticeable early symptoms," added Dr. Robert Newcomb, co-chair of Ohio's Aging Eye Public Private Partnership and professor of clinical optometry at The Ohio State University College of Optometry. "Regular eye exams with pupil dilation give your vision professional a greater chance of detecting any problems in the early stages, which can lead to more successful treatment."
Age-related eye disease includes age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Approximately 1.25 million Ohioans are affected, and that number is expected to nearly double to 2.5 million by 2030. Most of these conditions do not exhibit any initial symptoms before vision loss occurs. In most cases, vision lost cannot be recovered.
Ohio's Aging Eye Public Private Partnership, supported by the Ohio Department of Aging, is a collaboration of state agencies and boards, legislators, industry associations and health and vision experts, that strives to shape the state's vision care public policy, increase access to vision care services and promote education and research.
Visit www.preventblindness.org/Ohio/Agingeye/ for more information about the Aging Eye Public Private Partnership, eye diseases, Medicare benefits, the prevalence of vision problems in Ohio and a directory of Ohio vision resources.
Facts about age-related eye disease in Ohio:
About Ohio's Aging Eye Public Private Partnership
Ohio's Aging Eye Public Private Partnership (AEPPP) is a statewide collaboration formed to respond to the growth of aging eye challenges in Ohio. The mission of the AEPPP, an initiative supported by the Ohio Department of Aging, is to develop a strategic plan of action to address issues relating to vision care public policy, vision care services, vision education and vision research that impact the quality of life for Ohio's seniors now and in the future. The partnership and its on-going work are supported by a resolution from Governor Ted Strickland. Visit www.preventblindness.org/Ohio/Agingeye/.
The Ohio Department of Aging provides leadership for the delivery of services and supports that improve and promote quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. Working with 12 area agencies on aging and other community partners, the department offers home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs such as PASSPORT, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
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