238648 Evolution of Healthy Vision Month

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:30 PM

John McInerney, MA , Strategic Communications and Marketing Division, ICF Macro, Rockville, MD
Cyn Davis, BA , Strategic Communications and Marketing Division, ICF Macro, Rockville, MD
Neyal J. Ammary-Risch, MPH, CHES , National Eye Institute, National Insitutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Vision is an essential part of everyday life and is relied upon by all people of all ages. Eye diseases often have no symptoms in early stages. Vision that has been lost cannot be restored. Eye diseases and conditions can be detected through a comprehensive dilated eye exam and treated before vision loss occurs. Healthy Vision Month (HVM) is designed to elevate vision as a health priority by promoting the importance of early detection and treatment, as well as the use of proper eye safety practices, in preventing vision loss and blindness.

HVM was established in May 2003 to communicate the 10 vision objectives outlined in Healthy People 2010. Each year, the National Eye Institute (NEI) focuses on one objective and communicates it through an education and awareness program to the American public. In 2009, NEI began to rebrand HVM, stressing the importance of regular comprehensive dilated eye exams in maintaining eye health.

For HVM 2011, to further engage and reach our target audiences, traditional social media strategies were combined to create a “surround-sound” for promoting public health—reach them where they live, work, play, and worship. As HVM evolved, the use of social media was an essential way to promote the importance of eye health, comprehensive dilated eye exams, and eye safety to eye care professionals, other healthcare providers, and the general public. Future observances will continue to target these audiences while expanding efforts to reduce health disparities for these at high risk for vision loss or blindness.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the evolution of Healthy Vision Month. 2. Describe how social media has played a growing role in the development of the Healthy Vision Month observance.

Keywords: Vision Care, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the National Eye Health Education Program and oversaw the implementation of Healthy Vision Month.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.