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Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax; 713/743-8199

January 13, 2004

Contact: Lisa Merkl
713/743-8192 (office)
713/605-1757 (pager)

Early Detection, Prompt Intervention Top Priority

As part of National Glaucoma Month, the University Eye Institute at the University of Houston College of Optometry is offering free vision screening for at-risk individuals Thursday, Jan. 15, through Saturday, Jan. 17, at an area community center and church.

The comprehensive screenings will allow eye care professionals to run tests that run the gamut from specialized visual fields, taking non-contact intraocular pressures and viewing optic nerves with non-dilated ophthalmoscopy. Optometry student volunteers will perform modified exams for general vision screening, as well.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of both preventable and irreversible blindness in the United States, with more than three million suffering from the disease and less than half diagnosed. An insidious disease that begins subtly with vision slowly worsening and ending dramatically in partial or complete blindness, glaucoma causes damage to optic nerve cells. Those at greatest risk include African Americans and Hispanics older than 40, anyone older than 60, those with a family history of the disease, anyone older than 40 with a history of myopia and anyone who has experienced severe trauma to the eyes.

Roger Martin, a well-known national glaucoma-screening advocate, is spearheading this initiative with UH. A glaucoma patient who has dedicated the last several years to saving vision through early intervention, Martin founded the Lions Eye Health Program to fight blindness throughout the country. Setting up screenings and public education programs with volunteer institutions such as UH across the country, this program has helped more than 34,000 people to be screened for glaucoma and other eye diseases.

Along with faculty and student volunteers from UH’s University Eye Institute, Martin will participate in conducting screenings near the campus at the Community Family Centers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jan. 15-16, and at the Evangelist Temple Church of God in Christ from 9 a.m. to noon, Jan. 17.

“I am very excited about the diversity of the screening locations,” said Martin. “People need the service, and the optometry students learn a lot about life and how good it is to give.”

Screenings are free and open to the public. No appointment is necessary.

WHAT: Vision Screening for Glaucoma
WHEN/WHERE: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15 & Friday, Jan. 16
Community Family Centers, 7524 Avenue E (off I-45 South & Harrisburg, East of campus)
  9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 17
Evangelist Temple Church of God in Christ, 11603 Martin Luther King Blvd. (South of campus)
WHY: National Glaucoma Month

For more information about the College of Optometry, visit www.uei.uh.edu

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