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See a Better Tomorrow Campaign to Prevent Vision Loss Launched by AHAF.

Eye Exams Urged: Many Unaware They Have Eye Disease Until Sight Is Impaired

CLARKSBURG, Md., May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning in May, Healthy Vision Month, the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF) is launching See a Better Tomorrow, a public education campaign that encourages people to schedule comprehensive eye exams to help protect against irreversible vision loss.

AHAF, which funds research and provides public information on glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, attests that early diagnosis is key to limiting or preventing vision loss from these two degenerative diseases, which affect 16 million Americans .

"Many people are unaware that they have these diseases until they start to experience symptoms, after irreversible vision loss may have occurred," says AHAF President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller. "The good news is that with detection and treatment, eye doctors can often slow or stop the progression of these diseases and help protect against blindness."

A regular, comprehensive eye exam with pupil dilation allows a doctor to examine the back of the eye for signs of eye disease before symptoms appear.

Through public service announcements and a wide range of resources, AHAF asks people to visualize places or people they want to see, and then to protect their ability to continue seeing them by having an eye exam. The multi-platform campaign, highlighted at www.ahaf.org/SeeaBetterTomorrow, features:

* What Would You Like to See? PSAs: A set of public service announcements for TV and radio features adults and children imagining what they would like to see. The spots provide contact information to learn more about protecting vision. For this ongoing public service campaign, news media can download high-resolution PSAs of varying lengths, at http://www.goodwillcommunications.com/PSADigital.aspx

* See a Better Tomorrow photo contest: Via Facebook, contestants enter photos of people, places, or things bringing them joy for a chance to win an AHAF prize pack valued at more than $100.

* Publications, videos, podcasts, and other resources in English and Spanish, including healthy vision tips.

* A locator service to find an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist.

* Free eCards for reminding loved ones to get an eye exam.

Glaucoma has few or no symptoms in its early stages, and is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Approximately 2.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, and another 2.8 million may have the disease without knowing it. Eye exams are essential for people who might be at high risk for glaucoma: African Americans older than 40; everyone older than 60, particularly Mexican-Americans; and people with a family history of the disease.

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in industrialized nations. As many as 11 million Americans have the disease, and that number is expected to double over the next four decades. There are limited options for preventing or treating some forms of this disease, but for many patients treatments can slow or halt vision loss.

To date, AHAF's Macular Degeneration Research and National Glaucoma Research programs have provided more than $31.5 million in grants to identify new prevention, diagnostic, and treatment options for people facing vision loss.

About the American Health Assistance Foundation

The American Health Assistance Foundation (www.ahaf.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding cures for age-related degenerative diseases by funding research under its three programs: Alzheimer's Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research. AHAF also provides public information about these diseases, including risk factors, current treatments, and coping strategies.

Contact:

Melissa May, APR, mmay@ahaf.org Alice Kirkman, akirkman@ahaf.org +1.301.948.3244

This press release was issued through eReleases (R). For more information, visit eReleases Press Release Distribution at http://www.ereleases.com.

SOURCE American Health Assistance Foundation
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Date:May 2, 2012
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