Thursday, September 20, 2018

Eye Care Misconceptions and the Importance of Comprehensive Eye Exams

Parents are inundated with a long list of priorities at the start of the school year. But one thing that should not go overlooked is the need to schedule comprehensive eye exams for children at the appropriate times, which is driven not only by back-to-school seasonality, but by a child’s age.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that a child’s first comprehensive eye exam should occur between 6 months and 12 months, again at age 3 and before entering school at age 5 or 6. Yet, more than one-third of Americans incorrectly believe children should receive a first comprehensive eye exam at age five or later according to a UnitedHealthcare survey.

To help raise awareness around the importance of eye health and to expand access to eye care, UnitedHealthcare recently held an event at the Newark Boys & Girls Club. Optometrists from Eye Care 4 Kids New Jersey conducted comprehensive eye exams and any child identified with the need for prescription eyeglasses will receive a free pair during a follow-up visit.

The event was part of a grant program from UnitedHealthcare to nonprofits in cities across the country to coordinate free vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams and glasses donations. Eye Care 4 Kids New Jersey received a $5,000 grant as part of the initiative.

It’s important to remember that a school’s vision screening is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam. Vision screenings at school usually focus on measuring acuity levels and can miss common conditions such as poor eye alignment, focusing problems and farsightedness. 

As we head into fall, make sure to schedule an appointment for your child to receive a comprehensive eye exam if you haven’t already.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Grants are Available to New Jersey Families

In addition to worrying about the health and well-being of their children, many families facing illness and significant medical costs often have to make difficult financial decisions impacting basic needs for the rest of their family.

In response, UnitedHealthcare is encouraging New Jersey families to apply for a UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) medical grant. UHCCF medical grants help families pay for their child’s health care treatments and services or equipment that is not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.

UHCCF has already awarded over 15,000 grants valued at more than $40 million to families across the U.S., and aims to award its 20,000th grant in 2020. In New Jersey, UHCCF has awarded 267 grants to families since 2013 and is seeking to grant more this year.

One recent UHCCF grant recipient is the family of Nico Bourlotos of Middlesex. When Nico’s parents learned his difficulties in school were related to hearing loss and that he needed hearing aids, they were concerned about paying for an expense that wasn’t covered by their commercial health insurance plan.  The UHCCF provided funds to purchase Nico’s hearing aids.

From L to R:
Bob Benkert (UHC), Kim Gellman (UHC), Alicia Bourlotos, Nick Bourlotos, Victoria Tussing (UHC), John Verga (UHC) Center: Lucah, Nico and Enzo Bourlotos
“After conducting research online and applying for a UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation medical grant, we were so grateful to be a recipient. It was a weight lifted off our shoulders,” said Alicia Bourlotos.

The Foundation awards grants to families regardless of insurance provider, meaning you don’t need to be covered by UnitedHealthcare to apply. Families are encouraged to apply at

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

It’s National Walking Day: Here’s How to Hit Your Stride

To celebrate National Walking Day and the beginning of April’s Move More Month, lace-up your sneakers and find your stride

Studies have shown walking more and sitting less may help people maintain a healthier weight, ward off depression and prevent serious health issues like heart disease. A report from Harvard Medical School concluded that walking can help curb sweet cravings, boost the immune system and ease joint pain.

If you see runners while you’re out moving and wonder if walking is a cop-out, rest assured that studies say no. Maintaining a quick walking pace has been shown to be on par with running when it comes to lowering the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.  

With that in mind, here are tips to help you get out and walk more:
  • Think FIT, which stands for frequency (500 steps within seven minutes six times per day), intensity (3,000 steps within 30 minutes each day) and tenacity (at least 10,000 total steps per day).
  • Pair up with a walking pal. There are several advantages to recruiting a new workout friend, likely because that person can hold you accountable and offer support.
  • Check if your employer offers incentive-based wellness programs, as some plans may enable people to earn financial incentives by meeting walking goals.
  • Keep your walks from getting boring by exploring a neighborhood trail or scenic pathway. This site has various walking resources and 10,000-step walking routes in more than 50 cities nationwide, including Texas, helping people visualize what that distance looks like in their local communities.
  • Pledge to walk more at, and become eligible for a chance to win one of hundreds of walking-related prizes, including an Apple Watch®. As part of the sweepstakes, UnitedHealthcare will donate a total of $25,000 on behalf of the first 25,000 people to sign the pledge to Boys & Girls Clubs to help reduce childhood obesity.

The American Heart Association established Move More Month to encourage people, schools, workplaces and communities to walk at least 30 minutes per day and take a step toward better health.