Prevent Blindness Respectfully Calls Upon Congress to Support Programs That Prevent Blindness and Preserve Sight

Recognizing that vision problems cost the U.S. $139 billion annually, Prevent Blindness urges Representatives and Senators in the 2nd Session of the 113th Congress (2014) to:

  • Provide at least $1,000,000 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 to maintain vision and eye health efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Adequate FY 2015 resources will allow the CDC to increase vision impairment and eye disease surveillance efforts, apply previous CDC vision and eye health research findings to develop effective prevention and early detection interventions, and begin to incorporate vision and eye health promotion activities into state and national public health chronic disease initiatives, with an initial focus on early detection of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Provide at least $3,319,000 for the Glaucoma Project at CDC.  Adequate FY 2015 resources will allow the program to continue to improve glaucoma screening, referral, and treatment. The program is intended to reach those populations experiencing the greatest disparity in access to glaucoma care through an integrated collaboration among private and public organizations.
  • 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 through the inclusion of report language in the appropriations bill.  The Center focuses its efforts on: the development of best practices and guidelines for ensuring access to comprehensive eye care for children, including, but not limited to, early detection; supporting state-based efforts to increase access to – and quality of – children’s vision and eye health care; and establishing and advancing uniform mechanisms for data collection and reporting of children’s vision and eye health services.
  • Provide at least $639 million in FY 2014 to sustain programs under the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant.  The MCH Block Grant enables states to expand critical health care services to millions of pregnant women, infants and children, including those with special health care needs. In addition to direct services, the MCH Block Grant supports vital programs, preventive and systems building services needed to promote optimal health.
  • Provide $730 million to the National Eye Institute (NEI) in order to bolster efforts to identify the underlying causes of eye disease and vision loss, improve early detection and diagnosis, and advance prevention and treatment efforts.

Download a copy of the FY2015 Appropriations Requests document