Vision For Life - 2013 Annual Report
A Message from the CEO & Board Chair
Since our founding in 1908, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has stayed focused on its mission of preventing blindness and preserving sight. sight. This goal remains a pressing public health challenge as our population shifts demographically, grows and ages. This year, Prevent Blindness America continued with your help to expand its reach in support of vision care for Americans of all ages so that more people than ever before can enjoy a lifetime of healthy sight.
Founded by PBA in 2009, the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health continued its efforts in partnership with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to promote and ensure a comprehensive continuum of eye health and vision care for young children, including of course the continuing development of protocols for effective children’s vision screening. Prevent Blindness affiliates around the country identified children with potential vision problems through more than 2.1 million PBA-certified vision screenings, referring more than a quarter million children to eye doctors for professional care. In partnership with VSP, PBA distributed need-based Sight for Students vouchers to pay for the eye exams and glasses of thousands of children.
In the coming year, PBA and the National Center will continue our innovative approach to improving children’s eye health. In partnership with the National Head Start Association, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, The American Academy of Optometry, the Good-Lite Company and School Health Corporation, the “Year of Children’s Vision” was conceived to provide national guidance to staff of Head Start and other early childhood programs to standardize approaches to vision screening, improve follow-up for eye care for children who do not pass vision screening, provide family-friendly educational information, and consult with the nation’s leading pediatric eye care providers to ensure best practices for children’s eye health.
As baby boomers age, a majority of individuals in the United States diagnosed with age-related eye disease such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, will be women. To help educate women of all ages about the need to take care of their eyes while still young and as they grow older, PBA launched the “See Jane See” campaign at seejanesee.org. Other educational campaigns include “Live Right, Save Sight”, an initiative to raise awareness for healthy living and the impact of diabetes on eye health and vision.
In 2012, Prevent Blindness America launched the Focus on Eye Health National Summit with the publication of its Vision Problems in the U.S. report on the prevalence of age-related eye disease in the United States. The summit was established to elevate the national dialogue around vision and significant public health issues, such as surveillance, access, prevention messaging, service integration, and program development and replication. In June, 2013, the summit convened again in Washington in conjunction with the publication of the new PBA Economic Cost of Vision Problems report, showing direct and indirect costs of vision problems in the U.S. totaling $139 billion annually. We’re excited about next year’s Focus on Eye Health Summit on June 18 as we continue to promote eye and vision public policy collaboration among health care professionals, public health experts, allied health non profit organizations, and industry.
Prevent Blindness America advocacy efforts moved forward this year despite turmoil in Washington over our national health care and funding for Federal programs On June 19th, advocates joined PBA in Washington for “Eyes on Capitol Hill” to make their voices heard about the importance of federal investment in protecting healthy vision. Our “Eyes on America!” event also allowed people from around the country to participate in vision advocacy. In 2014 and beyond, PBA will work closely with partner organizations and lawmakers to make sure that critical programs for eye and vision health remain a funding priority.
Despite these efforts, vision loss and low vision continue to impact more Americans as we grow older and live longer. This year, PBA introduced a new online educational resource, “Living Well with Low Vision” at lowvision.preventblindness.org. Edited by patient advocate Dan Roberts, this blog and user-friendly resource is dedicated first and foremost to sharing hope and information with individuals and their caregivers about maintaining quality of life despite irreversible vision loss.
You made all the difference in the world for the success of these programs and initiatives. The generous donations of individuals, the dedicated support of corporations and foundations, and the tireless work of our affiliates and their many volunteers make a lifetime of vision possible for more Americans than ever before. Thank you.
Hugh R. Parry
President & Chief Executive Officer
James E. Anderson
Chair, Board of Directors