National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Health and Medicine Division Issues First-ever Report Providing Strategies to Address Vision and Eye Health Issues
CHICAGO (Sept. 15, 2016) – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Health and Medicine Division (NASEM) has released its consensus study, “Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow.” Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, and the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness, joined other leading national vision health organizations in co-sponsoring the study.
The extensive report provides detail on the scope of vision problems, barriers to eye health, and system-wide issues that are prevalent in the United States. It presents recommended population health strategies which will reduce vision impairment and promote eye health, in an effort to slow a projected doubling of chronic vision impairment by 2050. A few highlights from the numerous issues discussed throughout the report:
- While a wealth of information on the state of the problem is provided, the report strongly points to a need for future epidemiological research that better characterizes disparities in terms of prevalence, incidence, and severity of disease.
- While calling out the significant role that governmental public health agencies must play in our nation’s population health strategies, the report notes the absence of significant funding to support this sector, highlighting both the need for increased federal resources dedicated to eye health as well as the active involvement of external stakeholders.
- The committee identifies the important role of both a common message and a set of unified, evidence-based practice guidelines in establishing a solid foundation upon which to tackle this public health challenge.
- The committee acknowledges the potential for emerging technologies- such as telescreening and cell phone applications- to expand the availability of vision screening, diagnostic and monitoring services in remote and medically underserved communities, while recognizing the challenges that such technologies bring with them.
While the report broadly addresses vision and eye health concerns across the lifespan, as it relates specifically to children’s vision, the recommendations in the NASEM report echo those already underway through the work of Prevent Blindness’s National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health (NCCVEH). In 2009, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), recognizing the importance of early vision health as a component of a child’s overall development, funded the establishment of the NCCVEH. Through collaboration with nationally recognized clinicians, researchers, public health experts, and family partners, the NCCVEH published peer-reviewed protocols supporting a comprehensive system of care for children’s vision. The NCCVEH has also engaged in collaborations with professional associations, state public health departments, and key stakeholder groups to establish programs addressing the public health infrastructure supporting the early detection of children’s vision problems and increasing access to eye care.
“Prevent Blindness and our National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health commend NASEM and its study committee on the tremendous work they have done to fully capture the scope of the challenge before us,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “Together with our network of affiliates and partner organizations, we are eager to expand our own best practices and join with our colleagues in government, community and professional organizations, industry, and across all sectors to work collaboratively in advancing the impressive agenda NASEM sets before us. Together, we truly can put an end to preventable vision loss in the United States.”
As part of the new Prevent Blindness The Focus Initiative, a webinar will be held on Sept. 20, during which members of the NASEM Study Committee will share highlights from the new report. The free webinar will be held from 3-4:15 p.m. (ET). Those interested in participating may register at www.preventblindness.org/webinar-registration.
For more information on the NASEM study, the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness, or other general eye health information, please visit preventblindness.org or call (800) 331-2020.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 from 2:00-3:15pm Central
The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) recently conducted a consensus study to examine core principles and public health strategies to reduce visual impairment and promote eye health in the United States. During this webinar, we will hear from members of the Study Committee who will share highlights from their report – “Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow.”
The panel will discuss recommendations made across five core action areas:
- Facilitating public awareness through timely access to accurate and locally relevant information.
- Generating evidence to guide policy decisions and evidence-based actions.
- Expanding access to clinical care.
- Enhancing public health capacities to support vision-related activities.
- Promoting community actions that encourage eye and vision healthy environments.
M. Kathleen Murphy, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Chair, Prevent Blindness Community Programs & Public Health Committee
University of Texas Medical Branch-School of Nursing
Scheduled speakers representing the Consensus Study Committee:
- Steven Teutsch, MD, MPH (Study Chair), University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health
- Lori Grover, OD, PhD, King-Devick Test Inc.
- Peter Jacobson, JD, MPH, University of Michigan School of Public Health
- Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, University of Southern California Roski Eye Institute
Register today at: www.preventblindness.org/webinar-registration.
In addition, join The Focus Initiative LinkedIn group to encourage sharing of new research, information and events among the vision and public health community: www.linkedin.com/groups/Focus-Initiative-convened-Prevent-Blindness-8493662/about