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December 28, 2011

Hyde and Watson Foundation Awards Grant for Equipment

The Hyde and Watson Foundation has awarded a $5,000 grant to the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) to provide a portable tonometer to support the University Eye Center’s (UEC) community outreach efforts.  Tonometers are particularly important in the diagnosis of glaucoma, a serious eye disease that frequently goes undetected.   

It is estimated that more than 2 million Americans over the age of 40 have glaucoma, but only half of these individuals know that that they have the condition because there are often no symptoms.  Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African Americans, Hispanics, adults over age 60, and those will a family history of the disease over age 40.

Last year, the UEC provided a total of 55 community vision screenings with more than 3,000 patient encounters as sites such as senior centers, libraries, schools, churches and hospitals, as well as the Special Olympics.  The addition of the portable tonometer will offer greater access to comprehensive screenings throughout the community.  The tonometer will help identify eye and vision problems such sooner, giving the patient a better chance for successful intervention.

“Glaucoma is a very serious and often undiagnosed disease which can affect people without their knowledge,” said Dr. Richard Soden, Vice President for Clinical Administration and Executive Director of the UEC. “The additional tonometer provided by The Hyde and Watson Foundation will make a tremendous difference in the quality of care that we are able to provide for thousands of individuals in the community.”

The Optometric Center of New York is the allied and endowing foundation of the State University of New York, State College of Optometry, and is the primary source of private support for its patient care facility, the University Eye Center, providing grants for projects such as a Homebound Initiative, Indigent Care Project and Scholarship Fund, among others.