DEAR ABBY: I am an ophthalmologist, and all too often I see patients who have already lost some of their vision because they waited too long to schedule an appointment for an eye exam. Many times the reason was limited insurance or they couldn't afford the co-pay.
After helping nearly 1.8 million people, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, continues to match eligible seniors in need with volunteer ophthalmologists who provide a medical eye exam -- and up to one year of care -- at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.
This July, as we celebrate our country's independence, invite your readers to also celebrate their personal independence by getting regular eye exams, especially as they age. Many eye diseases develop later in life. In fact, one in six people age 65 and older has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Please help to save your readers from the falls, injuries, depression and social isolation that are associated with vision loss and join me in spreading the word about EyeCare America. Thank you for your help. -- CHARLES P. WILKINSON, M.D., CHAIR, EYECARE AMERICA
DEAR DR. WILKINSON: You're welcome. But I am the one who should thank you and the other members of the American Academy of Ophthalmology for their generosity in offering this program to seniors nationwide.
Readers, this is important and I know the need is great. To find out if you or your loved ones qualify for this program, visit www.eyecareamerica.org. (The online application does not request financial information.)