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Ohio Residents Head to Washington to Advocate for Support for Programs, Research to Save Sight
Columbus, OH (July 22, 2019) – Ohio Delegates Carolyn King (Powell), Dexter Vaughan (Middlefield) , Amy Pulles (Pickerington), David Monder (Hilliard), Laura Schwartz (Powell) and Sherry Williams (Bexley) joined delegates from across the country for the fourteenth annual Prevent Blindness “Eyes on Capitol Hill” advocacy day on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Since 2006, the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness and its national office have brought citizens from across the country to meet with members of the House and Senate, and their staff, to discuss the importance of vision and eye health programs and research.
“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 Americans to quality, affordable eye care,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate.
According to the recent Prevent Blindness study “The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems,” vision impairments are projected to cost the United States $167 billion in 2019, 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 visited with the offices of United States Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown and United States Representatives Anthony Gonzales, Troy Balderson, Steve Stivers, Dave Joyce and Bill Johnson asked these elected officials to:
- Invest $5 million in funding for the CDC’s Vision Health Initiative to conduct much-needed surveillance.
- Maintain the CDC’s work in glaucoma prevention and awareness with $4 million.
- Provide $850 million to the National Eye Institute (NEI)at theNational Institutes of Health (NIH).
- Join the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Vision Caucus (CVC) which works to strengthen a national dialogue on the importance of vision health through Congressional briefings, Dear Colleague letters, and press conferences. Ohio Congressman, Steve Stivers (R-15th), serves as one of the four co-chairs of this bipartisan caucus. Other Congressional members of the CVC from Ohio are: Steve Chabot (R-1st), Bill Johnson (R-6th), Bob Gibbs (R-7th), Marcy Kaptur (D-9th), Michael Turner (R-10th), Troy Balderson (R-12th), Tim Ryan (D-13th), David Joyce (R-14th), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D).
On July 17, all Eyes on Capitol Hill delegates attended the seventh annual Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
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 more than 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.