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NEW FREE VISION CARE PROGRAM ASSISTS SENIORS

 NEW FREE VISION CARE PROGRAM ASSISTS SENIORS
 SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Just when independent


living means the most, senior adults are 10 times more likely to experience vision problems, a challenge being addressed by Silver Options, the only free vision wellness program of its kind offered in America to people aged 55 and older, the developer of the plan announced today.
 "Fifty percent of Americans older than age 65 do not have regular eye examinations," said Cheryl Holmes, president of Alternative Health Care Concepts (AHCC), which has developed the nationwide Silver Options plan.
 "Seniors are either fearful or cannot afford care, which is precisely why this is more likely to happen," said Holmes, who explained that Silver Options resolves these issues through its network of more than 4,000 eyecare professionals.
 While some vision plans charge a fee to access benefits, membership status in Silver Options is free to people older than 55, as well as free product samples including CooperVision EYEscrub.
 The key to Silver Options is seen in its title -- options. "When someone calls the toll-free number, 1-800-882-2958, they are presented with a list of choices that include opportunities for free sight evaluations, discounts on eyewear of between 20 and 60 percent and potential enrollment, based on economic need, in a plan that provides free eyewear.
 Discounts are vital to many older Americans. According to the 20/20 Optical Group, an average pair of eyeglasses costs $154.87 (A). "A 20 to 60 percent discount represents significant savings, lessening that average cost to between $62 and $124," said Holmes.
 Holmes explained that easy access to regular eye examinations are vital to the early detection of sight-threatening conditions.
 "The free sight evaluation from Silver Options will detect decreased vision and visual problems, such as glaucoma and cataracts," explained Holmes. "With diseases of the eye, there is often painless, gradual decrease of vision. Sometimes people don't realize it is happening until they go for a routine evaluation," she said. "If a problem is detected, the individual is welcome to choose one of our providers for further care," said Holmes.
 Even with the discounts, some seniors neglect their vision because they simply cannot afford eyewear. To address this need, AHCC developed "Seeing is Believing," a program which provides free eyewear for seniors who meet certain financial criteria, which vary from state to state according to Medicaid guidelines.
 "These are seniors who fall through the cracks of the healthcare system," said Holmes. The "Seeing is Believing" program aids people who are just above the poverty line yet do not qualify for standard Medicaid programs.
 Information about Silver Options or membership in the program can be accessed nationwide by telephoning the national headquarters, toll free, at 1-800-882-2958.
 (A) 20/20 Optical Group publishes Census International.
 -0- 3/25/92
 /CONTACT: Cheryl Holmes or Dawn Corpolongo of Alternative Health Care Concepts, 800-554-2721, or Paul Clolery of CPR Medical Marketing, 201-342-9111/ CO: Alternative Health Care Concepts ST: Arizona IN: HEA SU: PDT


AH-TQ -- NY023 -- 1509 03/25/92 12:15 EST
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 25, 1992
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