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Healthy Eyes, Healthy People

I am sitting in Lambert Airport in St.Louis after attending the American Optometric Association‘s  Healthy Eyes, Healthy People Consultants Meeting. What a rush! It is so great to know that the industry and its corporate sponsors have come together to fund programs to serve underserved populations &  increase awareness about vision and eye health issues. This year, as in the past few years, the grants are sponsored by VSP and Luxottica. Over $800,000 has been awarded! I hope to be able to bring some of this money to Colorado. It is my job as the Colorado Optometric Association‘s Healthy Eyes Healthy People Consultant to educate my peers about this grant program and encourage them to collaborate with other health organization to set up programs that meet the goals and objectives of this intiative. I am excited to have been selected for this post and only hope I can devote the time the position deserves. At this conference, I met with other state consultants and heard about grants that have been awarded in the past. Some were about increasing awareness about blindness related to diabetes, others were about the importance of eye protection for sports, and still other grants were provided for screening services in rural areas. I am so happy to be part of such a philanthropic group of people. Optometrists in general have never shied away from helping those in need, whether in our day to day practice or traveling to far away destinations where optometrists don’t exist. Locally, I have had the pleasure of working with the Broomfield Community Foundation to provide eyeglasses and examinations for those that would otherwise not be able to afford such services.  Last week, I communicated with the Broomfield Department of Health and Human Services and we are beginning a project to serve even more people, especially children. By far, this type of work is among the most rewarding for me. I hope to keep you updated as we create these programs for our community.