interior January 2023 Newsletter from ISPB & PBIL banner image

January 2023 Newsletter from ISPB & PBIL

Call for Nominations!

“Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health,” and the 4th annual “Rising Visionary Award”

Prevent Blindness is announcing the call for nominations for the 2023 “Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health,” and the 4th annual “Rising Visionary Award!”

The deadline for submissions for both awards is Friday, February 3, 2023, at noon ET.

The Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health recognizes an individual, group, or organization that has made a significant contribution to the field of public health and vision and eye health at the community, state, national, and/or international level. The highest honor that Prevent Blindness bestows, the award is a tribute to Jenny Pomeroy, who was the CEO of Prevent Blindness Georgia from 1996 until 2013, and an accomplished leader in advancing public health and policy for vision and eye health issues.

The fourth annual Prevent Blindness Rising Visionary Award is presented annually to a student or resident in a health-related field who submits the best overall application and essay addressing the 2023 Focus on Eye Health Summit theme, “Why the Eye?

Find out more information HERE


National Glaucoma Awareness Month

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3 million Americans have glaucoma. And, it is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes loss of sight by damaging the optic nerve. Those with glaucoma begin to lose patches of vision, usually peripheral vision.

As part of January’s National Glaucoma Awareness Month, ISPB and Prevent Blindness Illinois are offering a wide variety of free resources to help glaucoma patients and their caregivers find the support they need to address the many aspects of the eye disease.

Find more information and resources HERE


Looking for a Presentation for your Organization?

PBIL/ISPB offers presentations on a variety of eye health topics that can range from from 30 to 60+ minutes.

Some topics include:

  • Living Well with Low Vision
  • Aging and Your Eyes
  • Women’s Vision and Eye Health
  • Eye Safety in the Workplace
  • Diabetes and the Eyes

Contact rbarraza@preventblindness.org to schedule a presentation today!


Pictured: ISPB intern/volunteer Elizabeth talks to a community member at Hope Fest

Community Happenings

Our staff, team of interns, and volunteers provide eye health education and outreach at all types of community events – including health fairs, presentations and screenings! We will be continuing our efforts during these dates:

February 4, 2023
7:30am – YMCA Community Resource & Health Fair, Kelly Hall YMCA, Chicago
March 19, 2023           
11:00am – Low Vision Presentation, Ascension of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church, Lincolnshire
April 13, 2023             
1:00pm – Women’s Vision and Eye Health Presentation, Northbrook Park District Leisure Center

 For more information, please contact rbarraza@preventblindness.org


Copyright © 2017 Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness

Contact Us
Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness | https://eyehealthillinois.org/
Prevent Blindness Illinois https://preventblindness.org/contact-us/


December Eye Health News from ISPB and PB-IL


Give the Gift of Sight Month

The holiday season brings together families, friends and festivities. During the month of December, Prevent Blindness encourages everyone to reflect on the joys of healthy vision and support sight-saving services.



Geographic Atrophy (GA) Awareness Week
December 5 – December 11

This week is Prevent Blindness’ second annual Geographic Atrophy (GA) Awareness Week. GA is an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which affects central vision. GA can lead to progressive and permanent vision loss.

To help educate the public on GA, Prevent Blindness has created a variety of resources in English and Spanish, including a downloadable fact sheet and a series of shareable social media graphics. Prevent Blindness also provides a dedicated webpage. Prevent Blindness developed the content of these resources with funding provided by Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.



Pictured: ISPB volunteer Minjia Tang helping examine members of the Rohingya Cultural Center on November 16

Community Happenings

Our staff, team of interns, and volunteers provide eye health education and outreach at all types of community events – including health fairs, presentations and screenings! As back to school season comes to a close, we shift our attention to eye health and safety presentations. We will be continuing our efforts during these dates:

March 19, 2023  
11:00am – Low Vision Presentation, Ascension of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church, Lincolnshire

April 13, 2023 
1:00pm – Women’s Vision and Eye Health Presentation, Northbrook Park District Leisure Center

For more information, please contact rbarraza@preventblindness.org


Looking for a Presentation for your Organization?

PBIL/ISPB offers presentations on a variety of eye health topics that can range from from 30 to 60+ minutes.

Some topics include:

  • Living Well with Low Vision
  • Aging and Your Eyes
  • Women’s Vision and Eye Health
  • Eye Safety in the Workplace
  • Diabetes and the Eyes

Contact rbarraza@preventblindness.org to schedule a presentation today!



Copyright © 2017 Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness

Contact Us
Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness | https://eyehealthillinois.org/
Prevent Blindness Illinois https://preventblindness.org/contact-us/

February is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month

As part of February’s Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month, Prevent Blindness Illinois and ISPB are offering free resources to the public to help educate and empower individuals and their care partners, to make informed decisions about their vision and eye health.

AMD is an eye disease that is a leading cause of vision loss for Americans ages 50 and older. It affects central vision, where sharpest vision occurs, causing difficulty conducting daily tasks such as driving, reading, and recognizing faces. According to a new study leveraging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System, “The Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the United States In 2019,” more than 19 million Americans ages 40 and older were estimated to be living with AMD in 2019. Prevalence of AMD increases with age. Among persons ages 80 and older, approximately 3 in 10 have early AMD, and approximately 1 in 10 have the vision-threatening late form.

The Prevent Blindness IL and ISPB “AMD Learning Center” at PreventBlindness.org/AMD, and the free GuideMe app, are designed for those who have been recently diagnosed with AMD. GuideMe works by asking a few questions about the user and the user’s AMD diagnosis. It then creates a customized guide with helpful information, tips, resources and suggested steps to take to be proactive about protecting vision. AMD fact sheets and shareable graphics in English and Spanish are also available for free download. 

Geographic Atrophy (GA) is the advanced form of dry AMD. We offer resources in English and Spanish, including a downloadable fact sheet, a series of shareable social media graphics and a dedicated webpage. Prevent Blindness developed the content of these resources with funding provided by Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Please also visit our recently redesigned resource, “Living Well With Low Vision.” The program provides accessible guides, such as the “Self-Help Guide to Non-Visual Skills” and “The ABC’s of Caring for the Visually Impaired” handbook. Additionally, the site has patient and care partner resource directories, and a new feature dedicated to vision loss and mental wellness. Visitors can also find information on the latest vision research, disease-specific news and clinical trials. This resource is supported by grants from Genentech and Horizon Therapeutics.

My Retina Tracker Genetic Testing Program

Do you have a clinical diagnosis of inherited retinal degeneration (IRD) and live in the United States and/or the US territories? The Foundation Fighting Blindness, in partnership with Blueprint Genetics and InformedDNA®, offers an open access, no-cost genetic testing program. Please visit their site to find out if you are eligible.

The program offers people with an IRD access to the highest quality genetic testing and genetic counseling. Although it is not required for participation, this program offers an easy opportunity to join the My Retina Tracker Registry. This gives individuals the opportunity to contribute to research and development, and the opportunity of being contacted about relevant clinical trials.

The program provides patients with a 322-gene panel targeting relevant genes associated with IRD. Unique features of the panel include the entire mitochondrial genome, full RPGR coverage, high-resolution copy number variant detection and comprehensive coverage of IRD related non-coding variants. The program offers no-charge genetic counseling.

Ordering is easy through Blueprint’s online portal, Nucleus. Results can be viewed in Nucleus approximately 4 weeks after Blueprint Genetics receives the sample.

New Resources for Reducing Eye Strain from Screens

In response to increased virtual and screen-based activities during the coronavirus pandemic, ISPB and Prevent Blindness Illinois have launched a new awareness campaign,, Take a Screen Time Out. All of us, including children, are spending as much as 12 hours a day in front of a digital screen. Find out more at Prevent Blindness.

Tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology include:

  • Use artificial tears to refresh eyes when they feel dry. 
  • Consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
  • Wear prescribed computer eyeglasses that allow eyes to focus specifically at computer screen distance (intermediate distance, which is about 20 to 26 inches away from the face).
  • Adjust screen brightness to match the level of light in the room. 
  • Increase the contrast on the screen to reduce eye strain.
  • Use a glare screen on the device.
  • Sit about 25 inches from the screen and adjust the screen height to look slightly downward.