The VSP® Eye on Diabetes campaign recently completed its final outreach event of 2012, by visiting York, PA to provide comprehensive eye exams and health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure to local residents in need. This event wrapped up the campaign’s third year of providing low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents across America with free health services. In addition to York, the campaign visited Biloxi, MS, Columbus, OH, Sacramento, CA, Torrance, CA, and Pittsburgh, PA. Each of those states have among the highest totals in the United States for overall diabetes prevalence.
Since the campaign’s inception in 2010, more than 4,000 people have been helped in twelve states. More than 50 VSP network doctors and optometry students who have participated in the campaign have identified both serious eye and general health-related conditions in patients. Additionally, more than 200 people have been referred to a medical professional for additional treatment.
“VSP has a long standing commitment to giving back to the community and educating consumers about the critical role eye health plays in your overall health,” said Connie Vavricek, director of industry outreach at VSP. “The VSPEye on Diabetes campaign is a call to consumers to take responsibility for their health through greater knowledge and understanding, along with incorporating positive preventative care behaviors, such as annual eye exams, into their lives.”
Local VSP network doctors volunteered their time to provide the free health services. The campaign utilizes the VSP Mobile Eyes® program and partners with state optometric associations and diabetes associations. Patients who have or are at risk for diabetes are examined onboard a VSP Mobile Eye Clinic outfitted with state-of-the-art exam rooms, frame dispensaries and a finishing lab.
“The eye is the only organ we can look inside and see the blood supply and nerve supply, so therefore we can detect a lot of systemic problems,” said VSP optometrist Dennis Delp, OD, who examined patients during the most recent campaign event in his hometown of York. “What this campaign has done for the York community has shown them that we care.”
An additional component of the campaign is a free continuing education course approved by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) offered in each city for all licensed optometrists. The course provides doctors with the most recent information and tools for them to continue providing quality care for their patients who have or are at-risk for diabetes.
The Eye on Diabetes outreach event in Pennsylvania made a particular impact on NBA star Tyreke Evans, who grew up in Chester, PA, outside of Philadelphia.
“Type 2 diabetes has had an impact on my family directly,” said Evans, who grew up in Chester, PA. “As I’ve said in a previous blog post, my grandmother, my mom and my Aunt Ann have diabetes. Plus, we’ve lost two family members from the disease. Through the Eye on Diabetes campaign, VSP helps to raise awareness that you can detect signs of diabetes through an eye exam. A lot of people don’t know that. Pennsylvania has a high rate of diabetes among its residents. VSP worked with their doctors to provide free eye exams and glasses to Pennsylvanians who are in need and taught them about the connection between diabetes and eye health. I’m very happy to see this provided in my home state and hope it will help to ensure people get the care they need.”
For more information about the campaign, visit vspglobal.com and select VSP Global Outreach.