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Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate
Thanks to Ohio Members of Congress for Support of Programs and Research to Save Sight
Columbus, OH (February 26, 2021) – Thanks to Ohio Members of Congress, Representatives Steve Stivers, Troy Balderson, Marcy Kaptur, Dave Joyce, Jim Jordan, Tim Ryan and Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman for joining Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate delegates Amy Pulles (Pickerington), David Monder (Hilliard), Marc Molea (Columbus), Darcy Downie (Chagrin Falls), Kira Baldonado (Anna), Laura Glass (Alliance) and Kylie Gang (Alliance) for the sixteenth annual Prevent Blindness “Eyes on Capitol Hill” advocacy days on February 24-25. Visits were virtual and focused on the importance of vision and eye health and how Prevent Blindness helps their constituents enjoy good sight for life.
According to the recent Prevent Blindness study “The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Cost of Vision Problems,” vision impairments are projected to cost the United States $177 billion in 2021, due in large part to the aging population. Yet, for every $18,600 that vision problems cost the country, only a single dollar is allocated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) toward their prevention. Annual costs are projected to increase to $717 billion by 2050 without significant investments in vision and eye health.
This year’s Eyes on Capitol Hill advocates asked Ohio’s elected officials to:
- Restore the CDC’s Vision Health Initiative (VHI) with $5 million.
With at least $5 million appropriated to the VHI in FY2021, VHI can once again collect and measure data on rates of diabetes-related eye disease, glaucoma, and age-related vision loss as well as determine rates of vision and eye examinations and measurements of visual acuity, screening tests, and visual functioning assessment to better determine where gaps in access and inequalities in eye health exist and should be addressed. This data will be used to bolster states’ capacity to respond to the needs of their population through collaborative partnerships, programmatic interventions, and targeted strategies to improve vision and eye health at the state, local, or systems level.
- Maintain the CDC’s work in Glaucoma Prevention with $4 million.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people aged 60 years and older. Today, more than $6 billion is spent annually on the disease with costs projected to rise to $12 billion per year by 2032 at which time nearly 4.3 million people are projected to face the disease by 2032. In the early stages, glaucoma has no symptoms or noticeable vision loss; however, by the time symptoms or vision loss appears, permanent damage to the eye means that vision lost cannot be restored. Early detection and treatment are key to slowing the progression of vision loss due to glaucoma.
Adequate FY 2022 resources to support the CDC’s work in glaucoma will allow the program to continue to improve glaucoma screening, referral, and treatment and ultimately protect work readiness, positive productivity, and economic independence and security for Americans. 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.
“We are proud to continue to work with members of government through our Eyes on Capitol Hill event, as well as other local and national advocacy efforts, to help protect the gift of sight and continue to bring Ohioans to quality, affordable eye care,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate.
For more information on Eyes on Capitol Hill, or Prevent Blindness and its advocacy initiatives, please call 800-331-2020 or visit www.pbohio.org.
About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to 1,000,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Or, visit us on the web at www.pbohio.org or facebook.com/pbohio and Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/PB_Ohio.