VIP, Primary Eyecare team up for screenings

Published 9:58 pm Friday, February 9, 2018

By Oniska Blevins | The Selma Times-Journal

Visually Impaired People (VIP) Organization and Primary Eyecare Center are teaming up for a free glaucoma screening.

The event is scheduled for Feb. 22 from noon until 2 p.m. at Primary Eyecare Center, located at 801 Dallas Ave.

Dr. Kristina Lovinggood, optometrist for Primary Eyecare Center, said glaucoma affects more than three million people in the United States.

“Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve. It’s a disease that you really don’t know you have until it’s too late,” she said. “It effects your peripheral vision and is the leading cause for blindness in African Americans.”

The two organizations partnered in 2016 to have a glaucoma screening where they actually diagnosed a couple of people with the disease. Lovinggood said it is important to have these screenings in Selma because it offers an alternative to those residents that aren’t insured.

“I feel it is important because there are so many in the community that do not have insurance, and it would be great to provide that free opportunity to check them for glaucoma and possibly prevent blindness,” Lovinggood said.

Lovinggood said there is nothing to prevent the disease and it is mostly genetics that causes it. She said getting regular eye check-ups could help catch early stages of glaucoma and possibly diagnose other diseases.

“I would definitely recommend annual eye exams for anyone. There are so many systemic diseases that can affect the eye,” she said. “There are so many things that we pick up on in the exams rooms that patients didn’t event know they had.”

William Bowman, president and CEO of VIP, said their goal is to provide resources to the visually impaired.

“VIP is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing low vision community education and support to people who are blind, visually impaired and to their care givers,” Bowman said.

Bowman said during the screening, they will be testing distance vision and a pressure kit to read eye pressure.

“Normal glaucoma pressure is around an eight to 12 and some people can reach about 25 to 30, and that’s when it starts to cause blindness,” Bowman said.

Bowman said this will not be the last year for the screening and looks forward to serving the community again next year.

For more information on VIP visit www.visuallyimpairedpeople.org.