Alcon Commits $1.125 Million To EyeCare America's Seniors EyeCare Program

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- EyeCare America, the public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (FAAO), announced today that it has been awarded a $1.125 million grant from Alcon. The five-year unrestricted grant will support EyeCare America's Seniors EyeCare Program, which bridges the healthcare gap for the aging U.S. population. Through the program those who are eligible receive a dilated medical exam and up to one year of treatment at no out-of-pocket cost.

Today, more than two-thirds of visually impaired adults in the U.S. are over 65 years of age. The prevalence of blindness increases rapidly in the later years, particularly after age 75. Alarmingly, the number of American's with age-related eye disease is expected to double within the next three decades unless something is done to reverse the trend.

EyeCare America's Seniors EyeCare Program is a collaborative grassroots effort through which members of the American Academy of Ophthalmology have joined together to battle preventable blindness in our aging population. The program is designed for U.S. citizens or legal residents age 65 and older who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three years or more, who do not belong to an HMO or the VA. People eligible for the program are referred to one of EyeCare America's 7,500 participating volunteer ophthalmologists for an eye exam and treatment for up to one year, often at no out of pocket cost to the patient.

"Alcon is delighted to support this most worthwhile program," said Cary Rayment, Alcon's President and Chief Executive Officer. "As a company, we have a commitment to give back to the community, and partnering with the Seniors Eye Care Program is an excellent way to fulfill that commitment." Rayment added that EyeCare America's program is proof of the ophthalmic community's dedication to service.

"For nearly twenty years, EyeCare America, through the help of its dedicated volunteer ophthalmologists, has been working diligently in the fight against preventable blindness," said Richard P. Mills, MD, chairman of the Seniors EyeCare Program. "We look forward to working with Alcon toward a common goal of providing much needed access to care to our senior communities."

To determine if you, a family member or friend qualify for a referral, call the 1-800-222-EYES (3937) toll-free helpline, which is available 24 hours a day, every day, all year round.

About EyeCare America

Established in 1985, EyeCare America, the public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is committed to the preservation of sight, accomplishing its mission through public service and education. EyeCare America provides eye care services to the medically underserved and to those at increased risk for eye disease through its corps of 7,500 volunteer ophthalmologists dedicated to serving their communities. More than 90 percent of the care made available is provided at no out-of- pocket cost to the patients. EyeCare America includes programs that focus on glaucoma, diabetes, seniors and children, and is the largest program of its kind in American medicine. Since its inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 700,000 people and treated more than 180,000 cases of eye disease. EyeCare America is a non profit program whose success is made possible through charitable contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. More information can be found at http://www.eyecareamerica.org/.

About Alcon

Alcon is the world's leading eye care company and has been dedicated to the ophthalmic industry for more 57 years. Alcon develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceuticals, surgical equipment and devices, contact lens solutions and other vision care products that treat diseases, disorders and other conditions of the eye.

EyeCare America

CONTACT: Allison Neves, Communications Manager of EyeCare America,+1-415-561-8518, or aneves@aao.org

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