Newswise — The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute will provide free eye screenings for Baltimore seniors as part of its Screening to Prevent Glaucoma (SToP Glaucoma) program. It will be held during an event at the Mary Harvin Senior Center on Thursday, Jan. 26. The free screening events is aimed at eliminating some of the barriers to accessing healthcare faced by Baltimore residents.

In addition to the free screenings, SToP Glaucoma also offers a free follow up appointment at the Wilmer Eye Institute if needed, free reading glasses and free prescription glasses. To date, SToP Glaucoma has provided 3,224 Baltimoreans with free screenings and has offered 982 people follow up care.

Through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the SToP Glaucoma team collaborates with churches, non-profit clinics, community health centers and other local organizations to provide free eye exams to those who do not have access to eye care otherwise.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, affecting an estimated 2.7 million Americans. It is caused when the fluid pressure inside of the eye slowly rises, causing vision loss. Only 50% of people with glaucoma are aware that they have the disease. African Americans, Hispanics, people with diabetes and people older than 60 are all at high risk, according to the CDC. Early detection and treatment can typically prevent patients from experiencing significant vision loss, however many patients do not have access to eye care or understand how to maintain their eye health. Improving these factors are key to stopping glaucoma before it causes vision loss.

What:Free eye screening event providing access to ophthalmologic care to approximately 30 patients with prior appointments through the Mary Harvin Senior Center.

Who:Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute ophthalmologists, undergraduate students and staffPrateek Gajwani – SToP Glaucoma Program ManagerDavid S. Friedman, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Director of the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – Will be available for interviews by appointment

When:Thursday, January 2612:00PM – 3:00PM

Where:Mary Harvin Senior Center1701 N. Chester Street