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Blacks at greater risk for developing cataracts

lack access to needed eye care.

Academy spokesperson Richard H. Lee, MD, a comprehensive ophthalmologist in Oakland, Calif., said, "This study points up the public health issue of limited access to health care among the black population. Since little can be done to prevent the development of cataracts, surgical treatment is the only real solution. Unfortunately, if treatment is put off, cataracts become more advanced and complications may become more prevalent when treatment is finally obtained."

So what should people do? EyeCare America, the Academy's public service foundation, offers multiple eye care programs, for which individuals may qualify. Callers will be automatically screened to determine the program that provides the most appropriate eye care services. Eligible seniors who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years may be able to receive a referral for eye care at no out-of-pocket cost for up to one year. The EyeCare America Helpline is 1-800-222-EYES (3937).


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Contact: Media Relations
media@aao.org
415-561-8534
American Academy of Ophthalmology
1-Mar-2004


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