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Blue Ribbon Foundation Helps Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
June 24, 2013

Grant helps agency provide screenings and education services

Wilkes-Barre, PA — According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, one out of every three individuals older than 65 has some form of vision-reducing eye disease.  Early diagnosis and treatment can help control the disease before vision loss or blindness occurs. 

In partnership with The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind is bringing this message to older adults through its Vision Loss Screenings and Education program. 

The Foundation’s recent $5,800 grant will help the Association provide free eye health education sessions and vision screenings to 360 older adults at 18 senior centers in Luzerne, Pike, Wayne and Wyoming Counties this year.   

“We are finding that more and more individuals, particularly older residents, are in need of our services,” said Jennifer Throop, director of services forthe Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind. “The Foundation’s funding is helping us expand our programs to reach more people and to help them see and live better.”

Education topics for the sessions will include low vision, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.  Screened participants identified as requiring intervention will receive follow-up care at no cost through the Association’s Gift of Sight program.

“Whether theAssociation is providing education for older adults or free screenings to those who might not have access, their services are enormously important to that individual’s health and quality of life,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s executive director. “We’re pleased that our grant will be able to help so many people through the Association.”

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  During its first decade of service, The Foundation has awarded nearly $10 million in grant funding to 170 nonprofits to help meet the health and wellness needs of more than 186,000 at-risk individuals. 

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.