NOSA at SUNY Takes on Glaucoma Awareness Month

Photo of NOSA student volunteers from the SUNY College of Optometry


Glaucoma is a common disease affecting more than 3 million Americans today, yet only half of those affected know they have it. Ignorance of what Glaucoma is, whom it affects and how it is treated is a major concern. Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief,” because it can steal someone’s vision with no warning signs. This is why the SUNY NOSA chapter made it a top priority to take part in NOSA’s national Glaucoma Awareness Initiative this January. We chose to visit a local senior center in Spanish Harlem to speak to an at-risk group of residents about this disease.


Setting up a presentation at the Covello Senior Center was a surprisingly easy task. Once we knew that we wanted to reach out to seniors all it took was a Google search for nearby senior centers. After a couple of emails, we were directed to the one public senior center in the area that provided weekend hours. Rochelle, the Director of Community Services at the Covello Center, was very eager to help with our presentation and even printed out our posters (in both English and Spanish!) and hung them around the center a few weeks before our arrival. She hosted us in the media room of the center and we were able to set up our trusty eyeball model and pull up our presentation and videos.


Photo of NOSA student volunteer from the SUNY College of Optometry


Glaucoma can affect anyone but there are certain populations who are at a higher risk. Adults over 60 years old (especially of Hispanic/Latin descent), African Americans over 40 years old and those with a family history of Glaucoma should be advised to obtain yearly dilated eye exams to ensure they are not developing the disease. We tried to stress the importance of yearly eye exams to the seniors who attended our event. No one was a fan of being dilated but our explanation of why it is necessary and how it allowed doctors to examine a patient’s eye health helped sway the opinions of residents about “the drops that make you blurry.” It felt great to educate people on what we do as part of an eye exam an how the optic nerve is examined for signs of Glaucoma. We also educated the residents about the fact that checking eye pressure is not the only component of screening for Glaucoma.


One of the seniors we spoke to had been diagnosed Primary Open Angle Glaucoma and was inspired to call her daughter to encourage her to get a dilated eye exam as well as tell the doctor that she has a positive family history. It was such a joy to hear this. This was why we chose to go out and educate! We wanted people talk about Glaucoma, and not just thinking “it’s something my mother or grandmother has, but I don’t have to worry about it.” Knowledge is power, and we felt great about doing our part to empower members of our community to take charge of their eye health.


The Covello Center has already asked our NOSA chapter at SUNY to return to host a Q&A on vision topics relating to seniors. We were delighted to receive the invitation and are looking forward to scheduling our next visit. I would like to encourage all our fellow NOSA chapters to reach out to a local senior center to do a similar event. Explaining these conditions and answering common questions can enrich us as student-doctors while providing an important service to our communities.




About Kaitlin Mooney

Photo of Kaitlin Mooney

Kaitlin Mooney is a third year NOSA member from the SUNY College of Optometry. Kaitlin has been a NOSA member since her first year of Optometry school and is currently serving as President of the SUNY NOSA chapter. Her optometric interests include Low Vision Rehabilitation, Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation and Primary Care Optometry.



More form the NOSA Blog


Humans of NOSA Student Spotlight: Peyton Taylor

My name is Peyton Taylor and I am a second year student at Kentucky College of Optometry. During my first ...
Read More

Humans of NOSA Student Spotlight: Hector Carrillo

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset Hi my name is Hector Carrillo and I am a third-year optometry student.  The ...
Read More

Humans of NOSA Student Spotlight: Jem Martin

Jem Martin is a fourth year student and past president of NECO's NOSA chapter and has always been incredibly involved ...
Read More

Humans of NOSA Student Spotlight: Leia Ballesteros

Leia Ballesteros is a third-year optometry student at Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry. She has been an active member ...
Read More

Humans of NOSA Student Spotlight: Lauren Dermody

Lauren Dermody UMSL Optometry Class of 2021 Lauren was the President of UMSL’s NOSA chapter for the 2018-2019 school year ...
Read More

NOSA Scholarship Information

The NOA and NOSA is offering scholarships to eligible student members. Please click the following link to see the application ...
Read More

Women’s History Spotlight

Dionne Moore Jones OD, MEd, FAAO. Interview by Astiney Franklin. What made you choose optometry? . While working at Ball ...
Read More

NOSA Student Spotlight 2020

Sophia Johnson is a first-year student at SUNY College of Optometry. She joined the NOSA/NOA community in August 2019 as ...
Read More

Glaucoma Awareness Month

Article by Irina Yakubin A Nice and Accurate Guide to Explaining Glaucoma to Your Patients _ Despite best efforts and ...
Read More

NOSA Member Spotlight

Claire Cordoba Why did you join NOSA? _ I originally joined NOSA because my friend, Abbie Norris, had told me ...
Read More

NOSA Events


NOSA BOGO Offer on Interactive Digital Textbooks

We are excited to announce an exclusive Buy One Get One Free discount on interactive iBook textbooks from Ridgevue Publishing that is now available for NOSA members. These ...
Read More

NOSA Goes to Jamaica

Join NOSA and The Eye Health Institute in Jamaica this November   Trip Dates: November 18th - November 25th, 2017 Location: Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica Application Deadline: Thursday, August ...
Read More
Dr. Clayton-Jeter and FDA

NOSA Honors Dr. Helene Clayton-Jeter during Political Action Month

Hard work is something that all optometry students have been told is what creates success. At times, students work so hard that the journey is ignored and experiences ...
Read More
picture of the NOSA, AOSA and OneSight joint mission

NOSA Goes to Tanzania

8 NOSA students have been selected to join a one week service trip to Tanzania with the non-profit organization OneSight. They will be working alongside fellow optometry students ...
Read More
Photo of Dr. C. Clayton Powell Sr.

NOSA Celebrates Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month, NOSA is celebrating the achievements of prominent African-American Optometrists who have made major contributions to the profession of Optometry as well as ...
Read More
Photo of NOSA Students from NOVA Southeastern College of Optometry

The NOSA ‘Eyes on Glaucoma’ Awareness Initiative

Glaucoma affects 3 million Americans today, but only half of persons with Glaucoma know they have the disease. In recognition of January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, NOSA launched ...
Read More

NOSA Alternative Spring Break 2017

Join NOSA and The Eye Health Institute in Jamaica. Dates: March 25th - April 1st, 2017 Location: Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica Application Deadline: Monday, January 30th 2017


Share on: