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J&J sponsors vision evaluations at Urban League conference

September 17, 2012

At last month’s National Urban League conference in New Orleans, optometry students from the University of Houston College of Optometry, University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Optometry and Southern College of Optometry checked for glaucoma and other potential vision problems as part of a program sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., which provided free vision evaluations and patient education to conference attendees.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. sponsored programs for free vision evaluations and patient education to attendees of the National Urban League (NUL) conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, July 25-28. The conference is a national forum that helps create solutions to the challenges confronting blacks and urban communities.

Vision problems can disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups. For example, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in blacks, and half of those with glaucoma don’t even know they have it, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

“This is cause for concern because not only are these individuals at greater risk for certain eye conditions and diseases, but research also shows that many are not receiving proper diagnosis and treatment,” said Lee Ball, O.D., associate director, Professional Affairs, Vistakon® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

According to a 2006 survey of 676 black Americans, almost all (92 percent) surveyed agreed that maintaining proper vision is an important priority for them, but less than half (47 percent) said they had an eye exam within the past year, while a quarter (24 percent) had not had an eye exam in more than two years. Nearly one-third (30 percent) said their child has never seen an eye care professional.

“Seeing an eye care professional regularly may not only assess vision and the need for updated prescriptions, it may also help identify and lead to a diagnosis of other health concerns such as hypertension and diabetes,” added Dr. Ball.

The on-site evaluations, led by local optometrists, consisted of several stations checking for vision, glaucoma and irregularities that may exist in the retina. Following the evaluation, a doctor reviewed the results with each individual and provided educational materials on different eye conditions and the importance of maintaining good vision health.

For more information on the National Urban League, go to http://nul.org.

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