Let’s be honest, of the myriad of health concerns an individual may possess, eye health is probably towards the bottom of the list. Unless one is born with refractive errors, like astigmatism, which makes vision blurry, healthy eyes are generally taken for granted. As long as one’s vision is reasonably well, regular check-ups with an eye doctor are often ignored. And even when a person’s vision slowly declines, much-needed medical intervention is delayed still. Unfortunately, by the time someone finally decides to have an eye exam, there may be issues that could have been prevented, or at the very least suitably managed. Check out these statistics courtesy of the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention:
- An estimated 61 million adults in the United States are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months.
- Approximately 14 million Americans aged 12 years and older have self-reported visual impairment defined as distance visual acuity of 20/50 or worse. Among them, more than 11 million Americans could have improved their vision to 20/40 or better with refractive correction.
- African-Americans have a higher risk of developing glaucoma after the age of 40.
- 1,600,000 Americans aged 50 years and older have age related macular degeneration
- As of 2004, blindness or low vision affects more than 3.3 million Americans aged 40 years and older
- 2.2 million people have glaucoma (about2% ) among Americans aged 40 years and older
- 20.5 million people have cataract (about 16%) among Americans aged 40 years and older
- Early detection and timely treatment of eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy has been found to be efficacious and cost-effective.
- Approximately 8.2% of Americans with self-reported vision problems did not have health insurance. Only 4% of Americans without health insurance reported having optional vision insurance, compared with 58% of Americans with private health insurance, 44% of Americans with public health insurance, and 54% of Canadians.
- American without health insurance had the lowest age-adjusted rate of use of eye care services (42%) compared with Americans with private health insurance (67%) or public health insurance (55%) and Canadians (56%).
Understanding just how important eye health is, Rickey Smiley has joined with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses to not only increase eye health awareness, but also offer 12 stylish eyeglasses at an affordable cost. The new Rickey Smiley frames are eligible for America’s Best’s two-for-$104.95 deal which includes single vision plastic lenses and an eye exam. The Gentlemen’s Standard had the distinct honor to discuss the new Rickey Smiley eyeglass line and eye awareness campaign with Mr. Smiley himself. Check out our conversation below.
The Gentlemen’s Standard: What was driving catalyst that prompted you to collaborate with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses to initiate this campaign for eye health awareness?
Rickey Smiley: I’ve worn glasses since third grade and it quickly became a huge part of my personal style and who I am. I already had an established partnership with America’s Best, so it was a natural evolution for us to campaign together on this very important cause.
TGS: What are some of the projects you will be involved in to help spread awareness?
RS: I’ll be telling my story, talking up my new frames and spreading awareness on the importance of eye health through news and radio programming and my social media pages (@Rickey Smiley on Twitter and Rickey Smiley Official Fan Page on Facebook). I’m also excited to be hitting the streets with #FramedWithSmiley events in various cities. We’re having a great time meeting some of my fans and introducing them to my eyewear and talking about their eye health.
TGS: Will this campaign involve any community outreach in major cities?
RS: Our first #FramedWithSmiley event was in Miami. We’re currently looking at where else we can go next.
TGS: Whom do you plan to reach with this campaign?
RS: We’re trying to reach people of all ages because eye health is important at any age. The Rickey Smiley Eyewear line is designed for men, aged 25-54 — but they can also be worn by women. Basically, I’m hoping to reach anyone who is looking for a cool style, but doesn’t want to break the bank.
TGS: What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish with this campaign?
RS: My number one goal is to increase the number of eye exams that Americans are getting each year. The “Eye Health Awareness and Access” survey – commissioned by America’s Best –found some surprising stats, which reveal that most people (84 percent) understand the importance of regular eye exams, but 40% have not had an eye exam in the past year. Plus, 10% have NEVER seen an eye doctor (African-Americans were the least likely!)
TGS: If you can, please detail any personal involvement in the design of the Rickey Smiley eyeglass line from America’s Best.
RS: I worked with the team at America’s Best to look at different style options and pick the bold color combinations in the line. I’m excited because the glasses also have unique textures and wood-like finishes, which make them really distinguished. My glasses have always been a part of my personal style, so I’m excited to give people more choices to match the look they are going for.
TGS: Are there any plans to continue with this eye health awareness campaign in the future?
RS: Yes! I believe people shouldn’t have to sacrifice style or seeing to save a buck and that everyone should have the opportunity to see well and look good, too. Partnering with America’s Best makes complete sense for me because their business is also committed to giving people quality eye wear and eye care at an affordable price.
TGS: Are there any plans to expand the Rickey Smiley eyeglass line?
RS: Well, the line is still brand new, but I can tell you that the frames have been doing very well so far. It’s been great to hear how much people love them. I know that the America’s Best team is always thinking about the future, but they aren’t ready to share any specific plans about the line just yet.
Tips for Healthy Eyes
- Visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist yearly – especially if you are over the age of 40.
- Eat a well-balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E. We’re talking green leafy vegetables, salmon, tuna, nuts, blueberries, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
- Glued to that tablet or computer screen? Ensure you grant your eyes adequate rest by utilizing the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes you should look away at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds.
- No smoking! It can lead to macular degeneration, hasten the development of cataracts, and can cause optic nerve damage.
- Rock some shades to block out harmful ultraviolet light. You want shades that block out 99 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
For more information on Rickey Smiley’s new eyeglass lines, please visit HERE for more details.
Rickey Smiley Asks People About Eye Health & Style from MultiVu Video on Vimeo.