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Summit Educates Georgians on Aging Eye Disease

June 9, 2014

More than 100 attendees joined the Department of Public Health and other healthcare professionals to gain the knowledge and skills to protect their sight and have a lifetime of healthy vision.

Aging eye disease is increasingly becoming a problem in the US. Over 4 million Georgians aged 40 and older have some type of vision problem, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or cataract. It is estimated that this number will more than double by 2030 as the population continues to age.

In an effort to raise awareness about aging eye disease, the Georgia Vision Collaborative was formed to serve as a resource to adults at risk for aging eye disease. The collaborative hosted its second annual Focus on Eye Health Summit on May 21st in Atlanta.

Attendees learned about risk factors for aging eye diseases, treatment options for these diseases, and available community resources. Other key takeaways included the knowledge that vision problems can have increased negative effects in older adults with other chronic conditions and that vision care is an important part of one’s overall health and well-being.

Presenters included motivational speaker Gerry Bouey, Dr. John Crews from CDC’s Vision Health Initiative, and Dr. Jason Peragallo from Emory Eye Center. Afternoon workshops covered diabetic retinopathy, driving safety, low vision aids, and corneal donation. Vision screenings were available to all attendees courtesy of Prevent Blindness Georgia and all went home with a copy of the Georgia Vision Resource Guide.

Dr. Jean O’Connor, Director of the Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at DPH, provided the welcome and stressed the importance of building partnerships to improve population health, including vision health. The Georgia Vision Collaborative accomplishes this by uniting vision, aging, and vision-related organizations statewide to promote eye health. The Collaborative works to identify and reduce gaps in vision services, educate the public and those at risk on vision health issues, and improve access to locations where vision services are offered.

Founding partners of the Collaborative include Center for the Visually Impaired, Georgia Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, Georgia Drive for Sight Program, Georgia Eye Bank, Prevent Blindness Georgia and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia.

To learn more about the Georgia Vision Collaborative and the Focus on Eye Health Summit or to access the online Georgia Vision Resource Guide, visit gavision.org or call (404) 537-4985.