DEAR ABBY: I am an ophthalmologist, and all too often I see patients who have already lost some of their vision because they waited too long to schedule an appointment for an eye exam. Many times the reason was limited insurance or they couldn't afford the co-pay.
After helping nearly 1.8 million people, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, continues to match eligible seniors in need with volunteer ophthalmologists who provide a medical eye exam -- and up to one year of care -- at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.
This July, as we celebrate our country's independence, invite your readers to also celebrate their personal independence by getting regular eye exams, especially as they age. Many eye diseases develop later in life. In fact, one in six people age 65 and older has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Please help to save your readers from the falls, injuries, depression and social isolation that are associated with vision loss and join me in spreading the word about EyeCare America. Thank you for your help. -- CHARLES P. WILKINSON, M.D., CHAIR, EYECARE AMERICA
DEAR DR. WILKINSON: You're welcome. But I am the one who should thank you and the other members of the American Academy of Ophthalmology for their generosity in offering this program to seniors nationwide.
Readers, this is important and I know the need is great. To find out if you or your loved ones qualify for this program, visit www.eyecareamerica.org. (The online application does not request financial information.)
DEAR ABBY: My in-laws are pressuring me to let them take our small children for overnights and trips around the city. I'm extremely uncomfortable about it because I don't trust their supervision. They obviously love the kids, and I'm happy they're in our children's lives -- as long as they come to our house to visit.
There have been several instances in which they made some questionable decisions with respect to supervising my little ones in public. I have so far successfully dodged their requests, but it will be impossible to do it forever. If I tell them how I -- and their son -- feel, they will be hurt, especially because my parents routinely watch the kids outside our home.
What's the best way to handle this with the least hurt feelings? -- ST. LOUIS MOMMY
DEAR MOMMY: This is something you and your husband will have to discuss with his parents TOGETHER. If you do it alone, you will forever be blamed for "favoring" your family over his. When the discussion happens, you should cite your reasons for feeling the way you do. I can't promise there won't be hurt feelings, because there probably already are, but your children's safety must come first.
Dear Abby is written by ABIGAIL VAN BUREN, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054.