What: While all five senses are important, sight is one of the most vital. Although we may sometimes take the gift of sight for granted, vision loss is a very real problem. During the month of February, raise awareness of vision loss during Low Vision Awareness Month.
Background: Sponsored by Prevent Blindness America, Low Vision Awareness Month encourages awareness of causes and treatments for low eyesight, which can make simple tasks, such as reading or driving a car, difficult. Low vision means partial sight or sight that can’t be entirely corrected by surgery, medications, contact lenses or glasses. Deteriorating eyesight can be caused by several different eye diseases, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or retinitis pigmentosa.
Story Pitch: There are a number of groups and organizations that can raise awareness for low vision or campaign around this event. Ophthalmologists and optometrists may want to make their patients aware of the possibility of vision loss. They can recommend ways to protect vision, as well as suggest how to promote better vision, such as reading with bright lights on. Eyeglass manufacturers and retailers may stress the importance of regular visits to the eye doctor and promote different types of eyewear, including protective and every day glasses. Dieticians and nutritionists can promote proper diet and exercise to ward off Type 2 diabetes, which is one of the causes of low vision.
Story Hook: According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 61 million adults in the United States are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. Consider the following when making your pitch:
- What age range can be affected by low vision?
- What are some of the symptoms of low vision?
- How can you protect your eyes to the best of your ability?
- How can maintaining your health help fight against deteriorating vision?
Tips: An ophthalmologist can discuss the importance of regular vision checks and how to diagnose low vision. In addition, someone who lives with low vision can provide great insight into this problem.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Foundation for the Blind
Foundation Fighting Blindness
Prevent Blindness America
–Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
Event Dates from CHASE’S Calendar of Events