EyeBuild project focuses on rebuilding New Orleans

November 9, 2007

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) members teamed up with the New Orleans area Habitat for Humanity to build houses in the residential areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. For 3 days preceding the annual academy meeting, more than 600 ophthalmologists were expected to participate in the AAO's EyeBuild project. To highlight the results of a new survey finding that nearly half of all eye injuries occur in the home and 75% of all injured did not wear protective eyewear, the volunteers wore protective eyewear.

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) members teamed up with the New Orleans area Habitat for Humanity to build houses in the residential areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. For 3 days preceding the annual academy meeting, more than 600 ophthalmologists were expected to participate in the AAO's EyeBuild project. To highlight the results of a new survey finding that nearly half of all eye injuries occur in the home and 75% of all injured did not wear protective eyewear, the volunteers wore protective eyewear.

"The academy developed EyeBuild in response to numerous requests from our members for a community service project in New Orleans," said H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, executive vice president of the academy. "Our past meetings here have always been wonderful events, thanks to the joie de vivre that makes the city unique. We wanted to contribute to rebuilding New Orleans as one way of saying 'thank you' for all of the hospitality the city has shown us through the years."

St. Bernard Parish was the site chosen, one of the most devastated communities in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. One hundred percent of its residential and commercial units suffered structural damage.

Eye Injury snapshot Project, the academy's annual partnership with the American Society of Ocular Trauma (ASOT), addresses the importance of protecting eyes against home repair, construction, and many other everyday activities.

"Do-it-yourself projects are a common cause of eye injuries," said Ferenc Kuhn, MD, president of ASOT. "The vast majority of those injured are not wearing protective eyewear, which could have prevented the injury from ever occurring."