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Kelli Barker
Eye Care Community Outreach

Dewana Allen
Eye Care Community Outreach

Last modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Indiana University launches new eye care program

ECCO to help underserved and uninsured in Indianapolis

NOTE: For more information about the program, potential clients can call 317-321-1413 or 317-321-1424, or e-mail program coordinator Dewana Allen at

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new Indiana University health program, Eye Care Community Outreach, established through a grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, has begun to offer its services to uninsured residents of the Indianapolis metro area who need eye care services.

ECCO is a joint effort between the IU School of Optometry and the IU School of Medicine's Department of Ophthalmology. Its mission is to improve the visual health of the medically underserved and uninsured populations in the Indianapolis metropolitan area by providing information, referrals, education and links to appropriate resources. As a result, residents will be able to access adequate visual health resources and achieve better overall health.

The National Eye Institute reports that the number of major eye diseases is increasing and that vision loss is fast becoming a major public health problem. Many eye diseases and conditions are preventable and treatable.

The program's goals will be achieved through advocacy, education, donated professional eye care and community collaborations with organizations such as Prevent Blindness Indiana, Lions Clubs of Indiana, the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, and the Indianapolis Medical Society's Project Health Program. Part of the program's efforts will involve helping clients address barriers to eye health care, such as transportation or related medical conditions such as diabetes.

Goals of the ECCO program:

  • To raise public awareness of the importance of adult, youth and infant visual health.
  • To provide easier access to eye care services for medically underserved, low-income and uninsured men, women and children by coordinating resources of community organizations.
  • To identify and refer individuals receiving eye care who need additional health and social services.

More specifically, ECCO seeks to assist the uninsured who do not qualify for Medicaid and Medicare. In addition, ECCO will help those who have insurance find adequate health services. Two coordinators have been hired to administer the program and to coordinate outreach efforts of the ophthalmology and optometry departments.

For more information contact Kelli Barker at 317-321-1424 or or Dewana Allen at 317-321-1413 or