Search Results for "eye on diabetes" — 27 articles

Keep Your Eye on Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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Could you guess the leading cause of blindness for people ages 65 and older? It's a bit of a mouthful ... But if you guessed age-related macular degeneration (AMD), give yourself kudos for guessing correctly (try saying that 5 times fast). In fact, the incidence rate of AMD for people ages 50 and over in the U.S. has increased by 25 percent over the last decade. In response to this rapid growth, VSP Vision Care is launching the "VSP Eye on Age-Related Macular Degeneration" campaign designed to increase consumer awareness about preventative care behaviors, support eye doctors with continuing education in providing essential care and providing free eye care services to those in need.

Eye on Age-Related Macular Degeneration

As part of the VSP Eye on Wellness program, which launched a similar and successful on-diabetes-2013-campaign-kicks-off-in-pacific-northwest/">Eye on Diabetes campaign, now in its fourth year, this campaign will also highlight the important role annual eye exams play in the early detection and treatment of serious eye conditions such as AMD. While AMD’s impact primarily affects people in their older years, understanding AMD’s risk factors and being proactive in preventive care at a young age is critical to delaying the development of the disease. In addition to receiving an annual eye exam, preventive measures include eating nutrient-rich foods, incorporating a regular exercise routine, protecting your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light and minimizing your exposure to digital devices that emit blue light. Free health services, including comprehensive eye exams and health risk assessments for AMD, will be provided using equipment by ZeaVision, to low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents across America through the campaign. The campaign begins tomorrow in St. Louis, where Missouri is among the states with the highest rates of AMD. Local VSP network doctors will volunteer their time through the VSP Mobile Eyes® program to provide exam services onboard a VSP Mobile Eyes clinic outfitted with state-of-the-art exam rooms, dispensaries and a finishing lab. Follow the outreach in St. Louis on oncare">Instagram  and oncare">Twitter. For more information about VSP Eye on Wellness campaigns, as well as other VSP charitable programs, visit globaleyesofhope.com.

VSP meets with Insulindependence in Portland

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I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon, along with other VSP representatives, for the national on-diabetes-campaign-returns-for-fourth-year">2013 VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign, which educates the public about the connection between diabetes and the eyes and provides free comprehensive eye exams and health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure.  There, we had the opportunity to meet with Insulindependence – an organization focused on encouraging people with diabetes to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Two optometrists joined us to answer questions related to diabetes and the eyes as well as present an education course they developed to teach fellow optometrists about how to care for diabetic patients.  The best part was when we ran more than seven miles, while members of this organization shared positive stories about how exercise has helped them manage their diabetes and lower their blood sugar levels. Hopefully, we will continue to collaborate with this group at future Eye on Diabetes campaign events!  

Eye on Diabetes 2013 Campaign Kicks Off in Pacific Northwest

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Austin Sullivan, from Portland, Oregon, has lived with diabetes since the age of one. He’s 39-years-old now and despite trying to manage his health as much as possible, he hasn’t had an eye exam in several years because he doesn’t have insurance or the appropriate resources.  His friend told him about the on-diabetes-campaign-returns-for-fourth-year">2013 VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign, but he almost didn’t attend to receive the free services. Now, he’s thankful he did because he not only received a free comprehensive eye exam, but also a prescription and free eyeglasses on the same day. Austin’s story is one example of a patient impacted by the efforts during the first Eye on Diabetes campaign event of 2013, which provided residents in Oregon and Washington with free health services, including comprehensive eye exams, glasses and diabetes health risk assessments. In Oregon, eye exams were provided by VSP optometrist Sue Littlefield and Pacific University College of Optometry (PUCO) students from January 14-15 in Cornelius and Portland. The campaign’s visit was hosted by VSP, the onoptometry.org/">Oregon Optometric Physicians Association and Oregon Governor John A. Kitzhaber, M.D., who proclaimed January 14-15 “Eye on Diabetes Days” in his state. In Washington, VSP optometrist Ray Hedahl and his wife Rhonda examined residents from January 17-18 at the onairclub.org/">Millionair Club Charity in Seattle. Members of the organization, which has an on-site eyecare clinic, were excited to team up with VSP to be able to serve even more people. “A lot of our participants are homeless or on the verge of homelessness so they can’t always afford or have access to these extra medical [services],” said Millionair Club Charity employee Rachel Carter. “The VSP partnership with the Millionair Club Charity really helped us tackle the preventative health care issue.” The national VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign focuses on increasing awareness and understanding of the connection between eyecare and a person’s overall health.  It also emphasizes the crucial role eye doctors play in the early detection and treatment of a variety of diseases, including diabetes. Since the campaign’s inception in 2010  more than 4,000 people have been helped in 13 states through the VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign. Oregon and Washington are two states that have been greatly impacted by diabetes. It is estimated more than 186,000 people in Oregon and 486,000 in Washington have been diagnosed, which is higher than the national average. Diabetes affects 25.8 million people across the country. It is the leading cause of blindness among adults and can result in other serious health consequences, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, amputations and even death.  A comprehensive eye exam is an important way to detect serious health conditions early, such as diabetes. Early detection of diabetes is critical for treating and managing the condition, along with preserving your vision. “Being able to talk to a doctor who can look at my eyes, check for diabetic damage as well as give me new glasses is excellent,”  said Austin. “It’s more than I hoped for when I came here.” Watch a PUCO student share his thoughts about the Eye on Diabetes campaign here.

2012 VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign helps more than 900 people in need

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[caption id="attachment_11870" align="aligncenter" width="500"]ontent/uploads/2012/07/Dr-examines-patient1-500x373.jpg" width="500" height="373" /> VSP optometrist Karena Strain volunteered her time to examine York residents[/caption] 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. READ: on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">VSP Eye on Diabetes visits Columbus, Ohio to provide care to more than 160 Ohioans in need on-diabetes-campaign-helps-veterans-in-need-access-care-on-memorial-day/" target="_blank">California veterans in need receive free eye care on Memorial Day as part of VSP Eye on Diabetes on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">More than 200 Mississippians in need benefit from VSP Eye on Diabetes   

NBA star aims to raise diabetes awareness

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ontent/uploads/2012/05/EOD-Collage-500x500.jpg" alt="" width="450" height="450" /> Our on-diabetes-campaign-helps-veterans-in-need-access-care-on-memorial-day/" target="_blank">Memorial Day blog post provided a glimpse into the third on-diabetes-campaign-launches-228911.aspx" target="_blank">VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign event of the year as Sacramento area military veterans in need received free health services, including comprehensive eye exams from local VSP optometrists onboard SeeLia the VSP mobile clinic, glasses and health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure. During the event, a total of 51 patients were identified as being at-risk for diabetes. The VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign focus is to increase awareness and understanding of the connection between eyecare and a person’s general health. Diabetes can be detected through an annual eye exam and regular eye exams are an important and cost-effective measure in managing the impact of diabetes. One advocate who is aiming to raise awareness of the detection and management of diabetes has familiar ties with hoops and hardwood in Sacramento, and may not necessarily be someone that comes to mind with the topic of diabetes. However, while he dons the colors purple, silver and black and competes against the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant during his full-time job, he is also passionate about raising diabetes awareness and serves as a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. We caught up with Sacramento Kings star and American Diabetes Association ambassador Tyreke Evans to get his thoughts on this serious health condition: ong>Q: Why is raising diabetes awareness important to you?ong>
Tyreke: "Diabetes is a common, serious health condition and it has no discrimination. Type 2 diabetes has personally impacted my family. For starters, my grandmother has diabetes, along with my mom and my Aunt Ann. We also lost two family members years ago from the disease, my mom's brother Glenn and her baby sister Linda. So that's why it's extremely important for all of our family members to watch their everyday diet and stay active.
It's also important for us to make certain that our vision is getting checked regularly, especially because of how diabetes runs in our family and has had a huge effect on most of our family members. We hope this condition will begin to dwindle away and not have a great impact on our younger generation in future years to come."
ong>Q: Why is the VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign important?ong> Tyreke: "A lot of people don't know that diabetes can be detected by their eye doctor through an eye exam. The earlier that signs of diabetes are discovered, the more likely your vision will be okay. The Eye on Diabetes campaign helps to raise that awareness. It's important for everyone to receive an annual eye exam." WATCH: on-diabetes-day/" target="_blank">Good Day Sacramento highlights "VSP Eye on Diabetes Day" in Sacramento FOX40 Live provides insight on "VSP Eye on Diabetes Day" in Sacramento News10 (ABC) interviews VSP partner Dr. Darryl Hunter, founder of Sacramento Community Veterans Alliance as he discusses the connection between diabetes and Agent Orange

ontent/uploads/2012/05/Tyreke-Collage-500x500.jpg" alt="" width="450" height="450" />

VSP Global Partners With Veterans

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Nathan is an ex-Marine Corps who served in the Military Systems Data Management field, equipping him with valuable software skills. Through VSP’s partnership with the Vet-Net Program in El Dorado Hills, now Nathan works as QA Software Testing intern at VSP. "The help that I received from the Vet-Net program and VSP was invaluable. From improving my resume writing skills and job search techniques, to a mock interview with an actual Human Resources Recruiter, my job search was immensely improved by the assistance and support they provided. I would not be employed today without them. Thank you so much for supporting Veterans.” ong>Engaging with Veteransong> As we honor our veterans this month with Memorial Day, our focus turns to those who have served and are serving in all branches of the military. But what happens after Memorial Day? How do we honor our veterans throughout the year? VSP Global is determined to engage with veterans throughout the year to help with decreasing the ever-rising unemployment rate veterans face. VSP Recruiters have partnered with the United States Army both nationally and locally, to bring veterans and their families employment opportunities and skills to use in the workplace. ong>Why Now?ong> As VSP Global expands, it is becoming more important to keep the company grounded and immersed in local communities, and we feel it’s crucial that employers reach out to a sector of our society that’s often overlooked. There are approximately 5.1 million Gulf War Veterans circulating back into civilian life and needing work, and local businesses can help. ong>National Levelong> VSP Global has partnered with the U.S. Army on a national level through the Partnership for Youth Success program (PaYS). VSP now has the ability to reach out to qualified U.S. Army veterans with skill sets that help fill talent gaps within VSP companies. Candidates are guaranteed an interview with VSP after discharge, giving them valuable face time with a potential employer. This partnership also opens doors for VSP to access other transitioning veterans throughout theU.S. ong>Why the Army? ong> The army was targeted as VSP’s first military recruitment endeavor due to the various military optical occupational specialties -- operating 25 optical labs globally to produce the lenses and technology needed to manufacture glasses, goggles, telescopes, and gun scopes. Not to mention, 30% of the armed forces require glasses! ong>Community Levelong> On a community level, VSP has partnered with the California EDD Vet-Net program by helping to create an 8-week workshop in Placer County to assist veterans, like Nethan Jenan, and their spouses in their efforts to return to work. The workshop teaches resume-building skills and interview techniques, and targets veterans specifically within the local community. VSP has partnered with other local employers to offer feedback and guidance to these veterans as they work through this program. Plus, on-diabetes-campaign-helps-veterans-in-need-access-care-on-memorial-day/">read how veterans in need are receiving access to care on Memorial Day through the VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign.

VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign helps veterans in need access care on Memorial Day

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  ontent/uploads/2012/05/American_Flag-500x332.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="332" /> In honor of Memorial Day, military veterans in need will be receiving free health services, including comprehensive eye exams, glasses and health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure during the third on-diabetes-campaign-launches-228911.aspx" target="_blank">VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign event of the year. Partnering with the on.html" target="_blank">Sacramento Community Veterans Alliance (S.C.V.A.) and the on.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1" target="_blank">California Optometric Association (COA), VSP is bringing SeeLia, a 45-foot-long VSP mobile eye clinic outfitted with state-of-the-art exam rooms and a dispensary to the California State Military Museum in Sacramento. Local VSP optometrists ong/" target="_blank">Helen Kwong, OD, and onsource-drwing.com/" target="_blank">Thomas Wing, OD, are teaming with pre-medical and medical student volunteers from University of California, Davis to provide the services to veterans. The VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign focus is to increase awareness and understanding of the connection between eyecare and a person’s general health. This VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign outreach event is being held in conjunction with the S.C.V.A.'s Second Annual Memorial Day Health Fair. For a closer look at the event and the partnership between S.C.V.A. and VSP, we caught up with S.C.V.A. founder and veteran Dr. Darryl Hunter. ong>What is the Second Annual Memorial Day Health Fair about?ong> Dr. Hunter: "Memorial Day weekend in the Sacramento area has traditionally featured activities either festive in nature such as barbecues and the Jazz Festival in Old Sacramento or ceremonies in solemn remembrances of those who have fallen in battle defending the honor of this country. The Second Annual Memorial Day Health Fair carries on the newest tradition of remembering those who have served but have since fallen on hard times through giving. Our health fair is staged in the heart of Old Sacramento at the California State Military Museum and provides food, care packages, health exams and vision exams with prescription eyewear for the homeless who have served this nation." ong>Why is it important to partner with the VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign this year?ong> Dr. Hunter: "Our event specifically markets to the homeless veteran community that reside in the Old Sacramento area as well as those taking up temporary shelter at the Salvation Army on 1200 N. B St. Last year's event demonstrated that the largest segment of the homeless veteran population seen were those who served in the Vietnam era and who consequently face the risk of delayed illnesses and cancers connected with Agent Orange exposure.  Diabetes mellitus is one of the 17 listed conditions that the Veterans Administration has identified as a service-connected condition connected to Agent Orange exposure. Our partnership with VSP will help us identify those veterans who are at risk and may connect them to benefits that they otherwise would never have known about." ong>In your eyes, what is the connection between a person's eye health and their overall health?ong> Dr. Hunter: "The eyes can be a window to other illnesses that may not display symptoms at early onset such as diabetes and hypertension.  Further, many people will not seek care for silent chronic conditions that can ultimately shorten life but most will seek attention if their vision is impaired.  The VSP mobile clinic has played an indispensable role at our events not only by providing an immediate service for those experiencing vision problems but also for screening for conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and various cancers that may not present with symptoms during early stages." ong>What is your favorite part about providing services to help Veterans and those in need?ong> Dr. Hunter: "All of our events are staffed by pre-medical and medical student volunteers of the UC Davis affiliated student-run Willow Clinic. These dedicated students not only volunteer every Saturday to serve the homeless at the Salvation Army's shelter on B Street but also volunteer on a University holiday to further serve the homeless veteran population. It is gratifying and inspiring see the energy and excitement that our next generation of physicians brings to serving those who risked their lives in service of our country but continue to fight physical and psychological trauma from that service." Check out pictures and video from today's event on Twitter (oncare" target="_blank">@VSPVisionCare)! Read about previous VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign events held in 2012: on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">VSP Eye on Diabetes visits Ohio on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">VSP Eye on Diabetes visits Mississippi 

161 Ohioans receive free health services through Eye on Diabetes campaign

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[caption id="attachment_10591" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Jenny, a student from The Ohio State University College of Optometry examines an Ohio resident in need"]ontent/uploads/2012/04/Patient-w-student-Jenny1-500x373.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="373" />[/caption] On April 19-21, 161 low-income, uninsured Ohio residents received free health services, including comprehensive eye exams, glasses and health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure during the on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign’s second event of 2012. Additionally, 61 patients were identified for being at-risk for diabetes after being examined at the events. Partnering with The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Optometry and the Ohio Optometric Association, VSP® Vision Care brought two mobile eye clinics outfitted with state-of-the-art exam rooms, dispensaries and a finishing lab to onofohio.org/" target="_blank">Faith Mission of Ohio, a local center which provides services and resources to the homeless community. Health services were provided by OSU College of Optometry students and doctors to Ohioans who have or are at risk for diabetes. The campaign focus is to increase awareness and understanding of the connection between eyecare and a person’s general health. In recognition of the VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign Ohio Governor John Kasich and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman proclaimed April 19-21 “Eye on Diabetes Days in Ohio” and “Eye on Diabetes Days in Columbus,” respectively. It is estimated more than 895,000 Ohio residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, and more than 268,000 have undiagnosed diabetes in the state. [caption id="attachment_10592" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="A young patient shows her appreciation by giving Kim a flower"]ontent/uploads/2012/04/Young-patient-and-Kim-150x112.jpg" alt="" width="150" height="112" />[/caption] “Through the VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign, communities grow their understanding of how to incorporate positive preventive care behaviors, such as annual eye exams, into their lives,” said Cheryl Johnson, Vice President, Eyecare Delivery Solutions, VSP Vision Care. “Partnering with The Ohio State University College of Optometry provided additional access to care for those in need and remains a great asset to the State of Ohio and to the future of the optometric community.” Following the event, all patients who needed further eye care services were eligible to receive care at the OSU College of Optometry clinic at Faith Mission of Ohio. Patients requiring additional ophthalmologic services or general health care have been referred to resources throughout Columbus. "We were excited to partner with VSP in bringing the Eye on Diabetes campaign to Columbus,” said Joan Nerderman, OD, clinical associate professor at The OSU College of Optometry. “Our students were able to experience the impact an optometrist can make on the daily life of a patient while increasing the connection between eye health and overall health within our community.” 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 VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign has made stops in ten states since it launched in 2010 and rolls on to Sacramento in June. The VSP Blog hosted a series of Q&A interviews during the Ohio events to provide a closer look at the Eye on Diabetes campaign. READ: Q&A with Dr. Nerderman and student Peter Fong on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">Q&A with Eye on Diabetes project manager Kim Rankin on-diabetes/" target="_blank">Q&A with mobile clinic team member Sharon Hollis and nurse Shelli Shaver Also, view more event photos here! [caption id="attachment_10596" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="An OSU College of Optometry student examines an Ohio resident in need"]ontent/uploads/2012/04/Student-w-patient-500x373.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="373" />[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10597" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="A patient shows off his new glasses with Dr. Nerderman and mobile clinic team member Kathleen"]ontent/uploads/2012/04/MRT-Dr-Nerderman-w-patient1-500x373.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="373" />[/caption]  

Q&A with VSP volunteer and nurse from Eye on Diabetes

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[caption id="attachment_10607" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Shelli Shaver, RN performs a blood pressure test on an Ohio resident in need"]on an Ohio resident in need" src="http://vspblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Patient-w-Nurse-Shelli-500x373.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="373" />[/caption] Today was Day 3 of the on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">Eye on Diabetes campaign in Ohio, and many patients in need were happy to receive free eye care, glasses and health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure. We recently caught up with two more integral people behind the campaign in Columbus, VSP employee Sharon Hollis and Shelli Shaver, RN to learn more about Eye on Diabetes. ong>Sharon Hollisong>ong>, customer care manager, VSP Eastern Operations Center in Columbusong> Q: What was your role in the campaign events? Sharon: “I served in a couple roles. I had the privilege of checking patients in, and helped them understand what to expect on the clinic. I also had the opportunity to manage the dispensary, by helping patients select frames, making sure the frames were a good fit for them, satisfied their visual need, and that the prescription and frames were compatible. It was also having some fun with them, helping them pick out a frame design they really liked. It was a lot of fun and a huge privilege to do this today.” Q: Why is the campaign important to the community and Columbus? Sharon: “In general, the Eye on Diabetes campaign really promotes a healthy lifestyle and utilizing a cost-effective way to learn more about an individual’s overall health through an eye exam. ForColumbusspecifically, I’m a native ofColumbus, and just knowing that we have some economic struggles here in this city, this is a fantastic program to help folks who have been hit hard by the economy, are uninsured or underinsured, it’s a fantastic way to help. We also have issues with obesity and diabetes in this city, so anything we can do as an organization to help promote care and healthy living, plus how to manage a disease, it really helps the overall lives of our citizens here. In turn, if we have a healthy community and a healthy group of citizens, it really helps the overall outlook for our city, how folks can prosper, how folks can be fit for work, and those types of things.” Q: Why is it important to make the connection between eye health and general health? Sharon: “I think the connection is that in order to be healthy, you have to have a good diet, good exercise and good access to care, and knowing what your body is telling you. You can do that through a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis, and just knowing what your health is and how you can manage these things. One really good way of managing that is to work with a VSP doctor. Q: What is your favorite part of volunteering your time to help those in need? Sharon: “I think that through the Mobile Clinics program and the Eye on Diabetes campaign, it’s a couple of things. I meet such a diverse group of people, including doctors, optometry students, other volunteers, and the patients were helping the citizens in this city of really understanding more about what’s happening in the community. On a personal level, getting to work so closely with other VSP employees is such a fun experience. You work hard, but it is so, so rewarding and being able to do that with your coworkers from all over the country is a really nice way to connect.” ong>Shelli Shaver, nurseong> Q: What is your role with the campaign? Shelli: “My role with the Eye on Diabetes events is to assess finger stick blood sugar levels and blood pressure of the patients we see, plus providing basic education for hypertension and diabetes-related eye problems and how they can be prevented.” Q: What is the connection between eye care and the health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure? Shelli: “The health risk assessments allow us to determine if a person has undiagnosed diabetes or hypertension. Early detection of these diseases leads to early treatment which can help prevent eye related complications.” Q: What’s your favorite part of participating in the campaign? Shelli: “My favorite part is being bale to help patients who might otherwise not be able to get an eye exam or medical care for an undiagnosed medical condition.” Q: What advice do you have for people with high blood pressure or high blood glucose levels? Shelli: “My advice for people with high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels is to get immediate medical attention and remain compliant with the recommendations given to them by their healthcare provider. Many complications can be prevented by maintaining blood pressure and blood glucose levels within normal range. Read more interviews from the Eye on Diabetes campaign this week in Ohio here: Q&A with The Ohio State University College of Optometry student volunteer and doctor on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">Q&A with Kim Rankin, Eye on Diabetes project manager

Q&A with The Ohio State University College of Optometry

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[caption id="attachment_10605" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="OSU optometry student Peter Fong examines an Ohio resident in need"]ong examines an Ohio resident in need" src="http://vspblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Peter-Fong-500x373.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="373" />[/caption] It's day 2 of the on-diabetes-campaign/" target="_blank">VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign in Columbus, Ohio today, as free comprehensive eye exams, glasses and health risk assessments for diabetes and high blood pressure are being provided to Ohioans who are low income, uninsured and underinsured, and have or are at-risk for diabetes. This event has been particularly unique as students and Dr. Joan Nerderman from The Ohio State University College of Optometry  (OSU) have partnered with VSP to examine patients onboard VSP Mobile Eye Clinics  Eyenstein and Seezar this week. We caught up with 4th year student Peter Fong and Dr. Nerderman to learn about their experiences. ong>Peter Fong:ong> Q: Why do you think the Eye on Diabetes campaign is important to the community? Peter: "I think the Eye on Diabetes campaign is very important because we are able to detect diabetes by looking into our patients’ eyes. There are small blood vessels in our eyes that we can look at and examining them can give us a heads-up about diseases or conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. These smaller blood vessels are similar to the smaller blood vessels in the rest of the body. So, whatever’s going on in the back of the eyes is typically what’s going on in with the smaller blood vessels in the rest of the body. It’s good to take a look inside the eyes to detect if there’s anything we need to look at from a general health perspective. I thought today was awesome. We came out here, made a bunch of people happy, provided them with new glasses and saved their vision."  Q: What type of things have you detected in the patients you’ve seen so far? Peter: "We saw some mild changes of diabetic retinopathy today. We referred one of my patients to receive a general healthcare check-up. She already knew her diabetes was a little bit out of control, and we helped her become more aware of the situation." Q: Why is it important for people to understand the connection between eye health and their general health, especially for a person with a condition such as diabetes? Peter: "I think it’s very important for someone to monitor their eye health and associate it with diabetes because as I mentioned before, we have small blood vessels in our bodies and we can see what’s going on with those as we look in the back of the eyes. Sometimes, if we see breakage or bleeding in the back of the eyes, that could be happening in the kidneys, the brain, the nerves or other small blood vessels in the rest of the body. Detecting those signs early can help you detect other general health problems."  Q: What is your favorite part about volunteering to help those in need? Peter: "My favorite part about volunteering is seeing the reaction of patients overall. A simple pair of glasses can make their day. By checking the health of their eyes, you can let them know about signs of diabetes or hypertension, and they are very appreciative when you advise them to see a doctor or need glasses to help their vision." Q: Have you ever done community outreach? If so, how does it compare to what you're doing here today? Peter: "I’ve done community outreach during high school and in my undergraduate studies. This (campaign) is different because I, along with my fellow students, are serving more in the role as a doctor, and not only giving them glasses, but looking at their ocular health and helping them see how it relates to their general health." Q: What do you think about the mobile clinics? Peter: "I thought the mobile clinics were great! They have all the equipment you need to operate in a situation like this. I think today was a real success." Q: Why do you want to enter the field of optometry? Peter: "I personally need corrective lenses to help me see well. When I was a child, I didn’t see very well and didn’t know what was wrong. My whole world changed in 8th grade when I received my first pair of glasses. I was able to see leaves on a tree instead of a green blob. It helped me tremendously in school, in sports and it changed my life completely. I want to be able to do that for other people. "I want to thank VSP for coming out here to support us and for helping the community out by giving people glasses and doing the right thing to better our community." ong>Dr. Joan Nerderman:ong> Q: How meaningful is it for your students to work on a campaign like this and give back to the community? Dr. Nerderman: "I always call my students the ultimate volunteers. My externs today are about to graduate so this is an extremely great opportunity. I was really thrilled when VSP said they wanted to work with our students because if you get the students (volunteering) while they’re still in school, they’re more likely to volunteer after they graduate. If you want them to give back to the communities where they end up after graduation, you start with them doing that as students and it pays off." Q: Why do you think a campaign such as Eye on Diabetes is important to the community? Dr. Nerderman: "The VSP Eye on Diabetes campaign is so helpful. We find that about 30% of these patients don’t know they have diabetes and there’s a lot more who may show signs of pre-diabetes. Where we can step in is by identifying their blood sugar levels. Several people today had higher blood sugar levels then where they should be. During a dilated eye exam, we often see things in the eyes that are one of the first signs of diabetes. It’s really helpful to get a handle on this. There are lifestyle changes that people with diabetes or pre-diabetes can do. You can work on your eating habits and activity level to help reduce your risk of diabetes. It’s the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. so if we can stay on top of managing the disease, that would be great." Q: What’s it been like to partner with VSP Vision Care in bringing the Eye on Diabetes campaign to Ohio? Dr. Nerderman: "At Ohio State University College of Optometry’s Faith Mission clinic, we do eye exams three days a week but it takes three weeks to get the glasses, so this has been great to get the glasses immediate on the spot inside the mobile clinics. The mobile clinics are great! Everything you need is there, the equipment is wonderful and its all self-contained. When you need something you just stick your head out the door and the VSP volunteers take care of the glasses. Plus, they did all the pretesting for us. It’s a wonderful setup and a way to see a lot of people and accomplish a lot of good in a day. So, we’re really glad that we’re here for three days, which is even better." Q: Have you done community outreach before? If so, how does it compare to what you're doing here today? Dr. Nerderman: "I’ve been at onofohio.org/" target="_blank">Faith Mission for 10 years doing community outreach for the people who are homeless. Faith Mission was very excited when they heard the Eye on Diabetes campaign was coming here because VSP was going to help see all those in the community in need, not just people who are homeless, so we are able to get a handle on helping the working poor see better. We certainly want people to be employed and if you can’t see to fill out a job application or do your work, it’s going to be really difficult." Q: What is your favorite part about volunteering to help those in need? Dr. Nerderman: "This is what I felt like I was put on the Earth to do. Optometry can help a lot of people in a lot of ways, but to be able to work in an outreach situation to help those who wouldn’t get help otherwise, you can see that they’re so thankful! Everyone today told me thank you very much, because they haven’t been able to see for a while. It’s just so rewarding to use the skills we learned as an optometrist and be able to put that to use to help these people better their lives and get back on track." Q: How does it feel to be a mentor for members of the next generation of optometric professionals? Dr. Nerderman: "I love working with the students at Faith Mission on an ongoing basis and certainly today because they’re so enthusiastic. Not everything we can see in the eyes is a happy thing to see but if we can help the students realize how they can help, then they’re more likely to volunteer when they graduate. I love being their mentor. I’ve been an optometrist for 25 years and I’ve learned several things that I can show them by example, particularly, how to make patients feel important and that everyone, no matter what situation they’re in, needs good eye care." Stay tuned to vspblog.com for more experiences and insights from the people behind the Eye on Diabetes campaign, and on Twitter (@VSPVisionCare) for pictures from Columbus!