National Eye Institute Partners with LSU’s Fresh Cuts Clean Health Barbershop Initiative

10/15/2012 04:44 PM

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Community University Partnership, or CUP, and its Fresh Cuts Clean Health, or FCCH, barbershop initiative recently announced a partnership with the National Eye Institute.


FCCH, a barbershop outreach initiative that targets African and Latino men, provides free health screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. The initiative also provides follow-up outreach through educational programing and is funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.


The National Eye Institute’s Glaucoma Subcommittee focuses on glaucoma and the effects it has on African-Americans. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve of the eye and result in vision loss and blindness. The disease can be detected by having a comprehensive dilated eye exam by an eye care professional.


“Glaucoma has no early warning signs or symptoms, and most people don’t know this,” explained Dr. James Tsai, chair of the Glaucoma Subcommittee for the National Eye Institute, or NEI, National Eye Health Education Program. “It’s very important that people don’t wait until they notice a problem with their vision to have an eye exam.”


NEI plans to collaborate with FCCH by bringing awareness to high-risk persons – African-Americans age 40 or older or have a history of diabetes and/or glaucoma – about the dangers of contracting glaucoma and how this disease shares a connection to high blood pressure and diabetes. NEI will spread their message by providing eye health literature geared toward men of color during FCCH’s free health screenings and educational programs.


“We are very excited about this national partnership,” said Carlissa Wells, LSU biological sciences senior and FCCH project coordinator. “Glaucoma and the chronic diseases that FCCH screens have the same target audience, so it’s beneficial to raise awareness and provide health information to the people that are disproportionally affected.”


For more information on Fresh Cuts Clean Health, contact the LSU Community University Partnership at or visit For more information about glaucoma, visit or call NEI at 301-496-5248.

About the National Eye Institute
The National Eye Institute, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., was established by Congress in 1968 to protect and prolong the vision of the American people. The institute also conducts research, which leads to sight saving treatments, reduces visual impairment and blindness, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. NEI also provides public and professional education programs, job opportunities and career development resources.


NEI’s mission is to "conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health problems and requirements of the blind."

Melissa  Foley 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012