San Francisco, CA (Vocus) August 24, 2010

EyeCare America, a national non-profit organization that provides eye exams and eye health information to medically underserved communities is exposing five common eye care myths in honor of September’s Save Your Sight Month.

Five Common Eye Care Myths:

1.    Reading, sewing or doing other close work in dim light can damage your eyes.
Fact: Reading in dim light can cause eye fatigue, but it will not damage your eyes. Good lighting will make reading easier and will prevent eye fatigue, especially for older people whose lenses no longer change shape as easily as they did when they were younger.

2.    Carrots are the key to good vision
Fact: Yes, carrots are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are essential for maintaining good sight. But carrots are not the only eye healthy food. If you’re not a fan of carrots, don’t worry, there are plenty of other foods to choose from. For more beta-carotene rich choices, look for deep orange or yellow fruits and vegetables such as cantaloupe, mangos, apricots, peaches, and sweet potatoes.

3.    Using computers can damage your eyes
Fact: Looking at your computer monitors will not harm your eyes. Often, when using a computer for long periods of time, just as when reading or doing other close work, you blink less often than normal. This reduced rate of blinking makes your eyes dry, which may lead to the feeling of eyestrain or fatigue.

4.    Older people who gain ‘second sight’ may be developing cataracts
Fact: Older individuals who wear reading eyeglasses sometimes find themselves able to read without their eyeglasses and think that their eyesight is improving. The truth is they are becoming more nearsighted, which can be a sign of early cataract development.

5.    You only need an eye exam if you notice that your vision is deteriorating
Fact: There are a variety of vision conditions and diseases that lack clear warning signs. Often times, only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can confirm that your eyes are healthy and disease-free. In many instances damage caused by eye disease cannot be reversed which is why it is important to get regular eye exams.

In honor of that final fact and September’s Save Your Sight month, EyeCare America encourages people to visit its online referral center at to see if they qualify for a sight-saving eye exam and care, often at no-out-of-pocket cost. This online referral center also enables friends and family members to find out instantly if their loved ones are eligible to be matched with an EyeCare America volunteer ophthalmologist.

All eligible patients receive a referral to one of 7,000 EyeCare America volunteer ophthalmologists. They also receive a comprehensive eye exam and care for any disease detected in the initial visit for up to one year, at no out-of-pocket cost.

The program facilitates eye care for U.S. citizens or legal residents who are without an ophthalmologist and who do not belong to an HMO or do not have eye care coverage through the Veterans Administration. To be found eligible for the program an individual should fall into one of the two categories below.

  •     Those who are age 65 or older and who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years may be eligible to receive a comprehensive, medical eye exam and up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam. Volunteer ophthalmologists will waive co-payments, accepting Medicare and /or other insurance reimbursement as payment in full. Patients without insurance receive this care at no charge.
  •     Those who are determined to be at increased risk for glaucoma (by age, race and family history) and have not had an eye exam in 12 months or more may be eligible to receive a free glaucoma eye exam if they are uninsured. Those with insurance will be billed for the exam and are responsible for any co-payments. The initiation of treatment is provided, if deemed necessary by the doctor during the exam.

To see immediately if you, a loved one or a friend, is eligible to receive a referral for an eye exam and care, visit

EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon. The program is endorsed by state and subspecialty ophthalmology societies.

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 medically underserved seniors and those at increased risk for eye disease through its corps of 7,000 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. Since its inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 1 million people. 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:

Media Contact: Allison Neves, Director of Public Relations – 415.447-0385, aneves(at)aao(dot)org

Note to Editors and Producers: High-resolution images and interviews with EyeCare America spokespeople, physicians and patients available upon request.

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