Prevent Blindness America and Transitions Optical Assert the Need for Multicultural Care with New Report

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CHICAGO—As a complement to the Vision Problems in the U.S. study released earlier this year, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) and Transitions Optical have released a report on multicultural eye health intended to serve as both a resource and call-to-action for government agencies, policymakers, organization leaders and patient advocates to make eye health education among at-risk ethnic groups a national priority.

The report, titled “Focus on Eye Health and Culturally Diverse Populations,” was released following PBA’s “Focus on Eye Health Summit” held on June 20, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

According to PBA, African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics face serious eye health risks and often have less access to, and lower awareness of, the need for preventive care. Among the statistics in the report, highlights include that African Americans are more than five times as likely to develop glaucoma and twice as likely to develop diabetes than Caucasians; that many Asian Americans believe that wearing eyeglasses will make their vision get worse; and that despite being more likely to develop UV-related eye diseases including cataract and diabetic retinopathy, less than 4 percent of Hispanics recognize that UV exposure can damage their eyes.

Further, U.S. Census data indicated that more than 70 percent of Asian Americans and Hispanics speak a language other than English at home, indicating that a language barrier may lead to the lack of efficient care among these populations.

“Language and communication barriers can make it even more challenging for at-risk groups to receive adequate eyecare,” said Manuel Solis, multicultural marketing manager, Transitions Optical. “By simply making available bilingual and in-language education, our nation’s leaders can help to alleviate health care disparities.”

The “Focus on Eye Health and Culturally Diverse Populations” report is made possible through an educational grant from the Transitions Healthy Sight for Life Fund. To download the report, visit the News & Resources section of PreventBlindness.org/VisionProblems.