Contact: Priscilla Kelangi
Prevent Blindness Northeast Region
Phone: (312) 363-6037
Email: [email protected]
Erin DiSanto, Joins Prevent Blindness Delegation from Massachusetts to Discuss the Importance of Vision and Eye Health
Boston, MA (June 30, 2016) – Melrose resident, Erin DiSanto will join delegates from across the country for the 11th annual Prevent Blindness “Eyes on Capitol Hill” advocacy day on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C. Citizens from across the United States will have the opportunity to meet with House and Senate members, and their staff, to discuss vision care issues.
Ms. DiSanto is a Prevent Blindness volunteer and member of the Children’s Vision Massachusetts coalition. As the mother of a preschooler who is dependent on eyeglasses, she is acutely aware of the important role vision plays in child development. When her son was 15 months old, she observed that one of his eyes ‘wandered’ and noticed that he was pulling toys close to his face. His first eye exam identified a vision condition that requires prescription eyeglasses. Diagnosed with developmental delay before his vision was corrected, he has made tremendous gains in all areas of gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and speech development since his vision problem was diagnosed and treated. Shortly after receiving his eyeglasses, he walked for the first time. His self-esteem, development and school readiness are dramatically improved due to his corrected vision. Erin observes that his vision facilitates his experiences with the world: friends, school, sports, art, books, and nature and that the benefit of improved sight has impacted him as a person and student. She recognizes that these experiences are now and forever part of his developing brain and that they are irreplaceable. Grateful that her son has access to all aspects of high quality vision care, Erin is committed to participating in advocacy that will provide the same level of care for all children.
“For more than a decade, Prevent Blindness has helped to provide those that have been deeply impacted by vision loss and vision issues an opportunity to discuss their experiences with our government representatives through our Eyes On Capitol Hill program,” said Priscilla Kelangi, Manager of Communications and Resource Development of Prevent Blindness Northeast Region. “We are proud to continue this effort to advocate for the importance of sight-saving programs and research.”
The Eyes on Capitol Hill meetings have been scheduled to specifically ask elected officials to:
- Provide $1,500,000 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 to strengthen vision and eye health efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Provide at least $3,294,000 for the Glaucoma Project at CDC in FY 2017.
- Support the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s (MCHB) National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health (the Center) in developing a public health infrastructure to promote and ensure a continuum of vision and eye health care for children.
- Provide $770 million to the National Eye Institute in FY 2017.
- Cosponsor HR 1312/S 898, the National Health Service Corps Improvement Act.
- Join the Congregational Vision Caucus.
The following day, July 13, all Eyes on Capitol Hill delegates will attend the fifth annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
For more information on the Summit, Prevent Blindness Northeast Region and its advocacy initiatives, please call (312) 363-6037 or visit childrensvisionmassachusetts.org.
About Prevent Blindness Northeast Region and Children’s Vision Massachusetts
Prevent Blindness Northeast Region is part of Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, serving the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screenings, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public.
Children’s Vision Massachusetts is a seventy member coalition of families and professionals from multiple disciplines and affiliations whose mission is to facilitate the development of a state-wide plan to improve the visual health of children in Massachusetts. To achieve this, the coalition is working to raise awareness and create systems to assure that every child has a vision screening, eye exam, and ongoing treatment if diagnosed with a vision condition.