Between June 1 and August 31, EyeCare America, a non-profit public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is offering no-cost medical eye care to qualified seniors.

By the age of 65, one in three Americans has some form of vision-impairing eye disease. The downturn in the U.S. economy has many seniors on fixed incomes struggling with health care costs, including eye care.

Through its national health campaign — "Don't Lose Sight of Your Independence" — EyeCare America endeavors to remind the elderly about the value of eyesight and the importance of proper care.

EyeCare America's Senior EyeCare Program is designed for U.S. citizens or legal residents who are 65 years of age or older and have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years. They must also not belong to a health maintenance organization (HMO) or the Veterans Administration.

The program includes a comprehensive eye exam and care for any disease detected in the initial visit for up to one year following the exam. For seniors without an ophthalmologist, care will be provided at no out-of-pocket cost.

Participating physicians agree to accept Medicare or other insurance as payment in full. Individuals without insurance are seen at no charge.

Interested seniors may call toll-free 800-222-EYES (3937). Callers eligible for the program will receive a referral to one of 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists for an eye exam and care.

The Seniors EyeCare Program is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc.