Free Glaucoma & Diabetic Retinopathy Screening – Santa Ana, May 10, 2008

In an effort to raise the awareness of a disease that often has no symptoms at its onset and can bring irreparable damage to the optic nerve which may lead to blindness, there will be free screenings held in Santa Ana, California on May 10 from 9 AM to 5 PM at the Delhi Center.  The screenings will be for both glaucoma and retinopathy.

“Ver es Poder” – Seeing is Empowering – is the theme for a Latino Glaucoma Awareness Day and Screening to be held Saturday, May 10, 9 am to 5 pm at the Delhi Center, 505 East Central Avenue, Santa Ana, presented by the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) announced GRF President and CEO Thomas M. Brunner today at the formation meeting of the initiative’s Leadership Group. Jose Molina, Spanish-language broadcasting pioneer in the Southwestern states and chair of the Leadership Group, convened the formation meeting at the Irvine headquarters of the project sponsor, Allergan.

“The community partnership that makes this pilot project possible is comprehensive and inspiring,” reported Brunner, “especially with the ongoing support from Allergan, the leadership of Members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, the expert guidance of Rohit Varma, MD and his colleagues in the definitive Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) from USC’s Doheny Eye Institute, the City of Santa Ana and Mayor Miguel Pulido, the Delhi Center, and of course the many members of our Leadership Council.”

“We are all committed to raising our communities’ awareness of this silent thief of sight, and to providing a variety of ways for our families, friends and neighbors at risk for glaucoma to protect their vision,” Molina said. The centerpiece of the formation meeting was a summary presentation by Dr. Varma on the LALES findings: that Latinos are among the highest groups at risk for glaucoma, and that as many as 75% of those with glaucoma are unaware of their condition.

A disease that in many cases has no symptoms at its onset, glaucoma can bring irreparable damage to the optic nerve, potentially leading to blindness. However, vision can be preserved with early detection and treatment. Also participating with Dr. Varma was his associate on the study, Carlos Lastra Gonzalez, MD, and the Project Manager, Mina Torres.

The plan for the Awareness and Screening Day itself is to offer free screenings for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy from 9 am to 5 pm. Spanish-speaking physicians will be available to talk about any potential findings in the screenings, and information booths will be set up and staffed, ready with referrals on health access and resources. Everyone, from youngsters to seniors, is urged to attend.

The Day begins with a Kick-Off led by Mayor Pulido, members of the Latino Caucus, and members of the Leadership Council — including the famed “voice” of Ver es Poder, Fernando Escandon, who will also be passing out free copies of his CD reading the poem El Brindis del Bohemios. “At noon,” beamed Molina, “we are delighted we can showcase the wonderful new singing talent, 14-year old Jessica Flores. Everyone in the family will be captivated by her performance!”

Members of the Leadership Council, in formation, include: Senator Gil Cedillo, Vice Chair of the Latino Caucus; Senator Lou Correa; Robert Drabkin, noted philanthropist committed to advancing vision research; Fernando Escandon; legendary radio producer and advertising pioneer Teddy Fregoso; Scott Garmon of The Scott Garmon Company; Assemblyman Jose Solorio; Sergio Velazquez, Publisher of Miniondas and Ferandula, and additional representatives of the Latino Eye Study, Allergan, Santa Ana and the Delhi Center.

Source: Glaucoma Research Foundation (2008-03-21)