AOA, U.S. Postal Service team up to raise awareness on eye health and vision care
For the second consecutive year, the AOA is putting its stamp on the eye health and vision care of the nation's postal workers.
The AOA and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Vision and Eye Health Wellness Program are partnering in October and November to help postal workers and their families better understand their vision and eye health needs and get the most from their vision and eye health care benefits.
Among the educational outreach being provided by the AOA is a public service announcement by President Andrea P. Thau, O.D., a toolkit for the Postal Service Occupational Health Services, webinar, brochures, PowerPoint presentation and posters.
And the AOA is recruiting member doctors to help educate postal workers on vision and eye health including the absolute necessity of comprehensive, in-person eye exams by their doctor. The 32,000 USPS locations will participate in "Vision and Eye Health Wellness" months. To participate, AOA-member doctors should reach out to USPS occupational medical staff contacts in their respective states.
"AOA and its members addressed this challenge head-on in 2015 and plan to do it again in 2016," Dr. Thau says. "In fact, our combined USPS activities can easily serve as a playbook for the next iteration of strategies to improve vision and eye health in America."
Michael R. Dueñas, O.D., AOA's chief public health officer, adds, "Half of all eye diseases in the U.S.—causing vision impairment and blindness—could be eliminated if people would get annual, comprehensive eye examinations from their eye doctors. Unfortunately, vision conditions and diseases causing permanent vision loss are asymptomatic in their most treatable stages. Without a 'primary push' most people will wait too long."
The wellness program encourages USPS employees and their families to make healthy choices for eye and vision health, while embracing the primary prevention role asymptomatic comprehensive eye examinations play in their overall health. It will assist employees and their families in accessing available vision and eye health care benefits of the USPS health benefit programs.
Activities are underway to reach out to more than 600,000 postal workers and empower them with the knowledge they need to keep their eyes healthy. The program was a great success last year with over 18 million recorded impressions.
"The AOA intends to build on last year's successes in which we teamed up with the USPS to deliver eye health and wellness education to over 45,000 U.S. postal service employees, including over 120 USPS Occupational Medical Staff," Dr. Dueñas says.
"It's a win-win for everybody," he adds. "Postal employees are empowered to better understand vision and risk factors associated with a range of vision and eye health issues, including the ability to better utilize defined benefits of comprehensive eye exams for themselves and their families. The Postal Service enjoys the associated potentials for higher work efficiency and reduced injuries, while participating member doctors become essential community occupational health care team members."
The partnership fulfills one of the recommendations of the recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, "Making Eye Health a Population Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow" report, which endorses public/private collaborations to promote eye and vision health in communities.
The AOA will use the time to evaluate its collection efforts and create a registry for the future that is most useful to improving eye health and vision care. The AOA launched the registry in 2015.
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