Healthy Vision Month 2017: Eye Health in Women

Encouraging women to make eye health a priority. That was the focus of The National Eye Institute’s 2017 Healthy Vision Month campaign in May. Here’s a quick overview of its message and adoption as well as tools you can use to raise healthy vision awareness in your own office, organization, or home.

THE MESSAGE
Why women? Because, according to NEI, “Women are more likely to have eye-related diseases and conditions—including cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.”

In fact, nearly two-thirds of blindness and visual impairment occurs in women, and women make up the majority of the 4.4 million Americans age 40 and older who are blind or visually impaired. In response to these staggering statistics, the NEI suggests that women observe these five Healthy Vision Month principles: Get a dilated eye exam; live a healthy lifestyle; know their family history; use protective eyewear; and, wear sunglasses.

OUTREACH
To bring these simple but crucial vision tips to the forefront of women’s minds, the NEI launched and sustained a robust digital campaign throughout the month of May. In addition to spreading the word through its own channels, the Institute created a toolkit of FREE social media posts, videos, web buttons, infographics, and newsletter content for eyecare professionals and consumers alike to share with their networks.

The toolkit’s unique and engaging tools helped to grow general awareness of Healthy Vision Month exponentially. One campaign that garnered a lot of attention was the #Selfie4Sight movement.

According to the NEI Office of Science Communications, Public Liaison, and Education, “The campaign is encouraging women to take selfies showing how they make their eye health a priority and to post them to social media using the hashtag #Selfie4Sight.”

ADOPTION & SUCCESS
NEI’s ambassadors and partners are also supporting the effort. For example, Ambassador Michelle Hudgins, who was featured in NEI’s Healthy Vision Month YouTube video, posted several #Selfie4Sight messages on Facebook. 

Expanding on the digital toolkit, many NEI partners and ambassadors ran with Healthy Vision Month in fun and creative ways. Diabetic Foodie posted a series of blogs featuring healthy eye food recipes, and shared them on various social media. Partner All About Vision published a news item on its website that was shared and posted on 750 doctor Facebook pages. 

SPREAD THE WORD
The information posted on NEI’s Healthy Vision Month Toolkit is both spot-on and evergreen. Use its contents in your own newsletters, blogs, social media channels. You can also create in-office handouts and posters featuring the attention-grabbing infographics on the site.

And, don’t forget The Vision Council’s website, https://www.thevisioncouncil.org, another superior resource for timely information on a variety of vision-related topics.

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