Eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts are the leading causes of visual impairment in people older than 65.  Hispanics and African Americans are at an increased risk for eye diseases.  Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults 20-74 years old. And, diabetic patients are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma and 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts than those without diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

“The number of people being diagnosed with diabetes is increasing year after year,” said Sharon Howard, assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health. “We want to get the message out that there are steps they can take to help protect their vision.”

Free dilated eye exams will be offered:

Monday, Nov. 28
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
East Feliciana Public Health Unit
12080 Marston Street, Clinton

People at risk for low vision should have regular dilated eye exams, as early detection may prevent further vision loss.  Senior citizens, people with diabetes, Hispanics and African Americans, or anyone who has not had a dilated eye exam in the last year are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

Vision rehabilitation services and adaptive devices can help to improve the quality of life for people with low vision. People with low vision are encouraged to talk with an eye care professional to learn about how they can make the most out of their remaining vision.

For more information, contact:

Jorli Wales, Office of Public Health, Louisiana Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, (225)342-8094 or Mary Jane McCutcheon at the East Feliciana Public Health Unit, (225) 683-8551