Mutual of America announced that “Seeing the Future: Vision Health Initiative” was named a Merit Finalist award recipient of its 2019 Community Partnership Award competition.
Seeing the Future: Vision Health Initiative was launched by Care For the Homeless (CFH) in 2016 after research showed that individuals experiencing homelessness have more vision-related problems than the general public. The program provides vision screenings in the same location where patients who are homeless receive their healthcare services.
Today, the program offers vision health education, vision screenings and direct referrals for follow-up treatment to address conditions such as refractive errors, glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. CFH created the program with a diverse group of partners: Tuckahoe-Eastchester Lions Club provides trained volunteers to assist CFH at screening events; SUNY College of Optometry schedules follow-up appointments with SUNY eye specialists; and The Hyde and Watson Foundation provides critical funding for CFH to purchase advanced screening equipment.
“It is hard enough to turn your life around when you are homeless, but it can be next to impossible when you cannot see. The Vision Health Initiative provides essential vision-screening services that can help reduce the educational, employment and health challenges that individuals and families experiencing homelessness face,” George Nashak, Executive Director of Care For the Homeless, said in a company news release. “In 2018, we screened 338 adults and children; this year, we are on track to screen 400 to 500. By offering vision services at an accessible place, where our patients feel safe, welcome and comfortable, this program removes a significant barrier to their well-being and is helping them to envision a brighter future.”