Thursday, March 5, 2015
Prevent Blindness Teams Up with National Black Church Initiative
Prevent Blindness and the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), composed of 34,000 churches across 15 denominations, are joining forces to improve the vision and eye health of the coalition’s 15.7 million African American churchgoers. African Americans have among the highest risks for developing eye health issues, suffering disproportionately from conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy when compared to other ethnicities. According to a recent national public opinion poll, when asked which disease or ailment is the worst that could happen to them, blindness ranked first among African Americans.
The 2014 Prevent Blindness “Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems” report projected that by 2050 most glaucoma patients will be non-white. At that time, blacks and Hispanics will each constitute about 20 percent of all glaucoma patients. According to the National Eye Institute, blindness from glaucoma is six times as common in blacks as in whites. Further, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African American adults are twice as likely as non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes and its related complications including diabetic eye disease. Read more.
To address these skyrocketing numbers, the groups joined forces and created the “Community InSight” program, designed to educate and equip designated Health Navigators within each of the NBCI congregations to serve as peer-to-peer eye health educators in order to:
1) Increase awareness of eye health among NBCI member church congregations and parishioners, with an emphasis on diabetic eye disease and glaucoma, and
2) Increase the number of annual dilated eye exams for parishioners living with diabetes or who are at high risk for glaucoma