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Seeing Better Side of Eye Program

September 07, 1986

Dr. Bernard Simon, in response to a well-intentioned project, demeans the National Eye Care Project of the Academy of Ophthalmology (Letters in View, Aug. 6). This project is not simply a screening effort but has actually provided care for seniors with eye medical problems including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. This care has been provided, and will continue to be provided, to those who have governmental or private insurance. It also is being provided without charge to seniors who do not have any insurance or Medicare coverage.

Through June the project has received more than 51,000 calls. Of those patients referred, approximately 90% had evidence of eye disease, with 53% cataracts, 12% macular degeneration and 4.5% newly discovered glaucoma. This program allows not only the detection of medical problems, but the treatment of the problems. Although optometrists are able to detect the presence of certain eye diseases, they are not able by training or by law able to treat eye diseases.

Simon, an optometrist, belittles a well-intentioned project to provide medical care to those unable to afford it, by the only group able to provide it--ophthalmologists.

DONALD SCHWARTZ MD

Long Beach

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