The Vision Health Initiative (VHI) is designed to improve our Nation’s vision health through a coordinated public health approach organized around assessment, application, and action principles aimed at preventing and controlling eye disease, eye injury, and vision loss, thereby improving quality of life and reducing disability for all populations during all life stages.
Data indicates that vision loss and eye diseases disproportionately affect specific population subgroups within the United States. Therefore, VHI will continue forming new partnerships to identify and target populations at greater risk of preventable vision loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/VHI stands ready to join with others committed to vision health to create a multilevel network for vision loss prevention through collaborating, convening, and leading the efforts.
The core elements of the VHI-coordinated public health approach to improving the Nation’s vision health include the following: engaging key national partners, collaborating with state and local health departments, implementing vision surveillance and evaluation systems, eliminating eye health disparities by focusing on at-risk populations, integrating vision health interventions into existing public health programs (e.g., systems and policy changes that support vision health), addressing the role of behavior in protecting and optimizing vision health, ensuring professional workforce development, and establishing an applied public health research agenda for vision health. Highlights of current VHI activities: Assessment VHI has been active in the pursuit of national data collection, including the assembly of key vision and eye health measures. VHI has supported the eye evaluation component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that will provide current, nationally representative data. VHI developed the first optional Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System vision module and introduced it into state use in 2005 to gather information about access to eye care and prevalence of eye disease and eye injury. These efforts are critical to identifying data gaps among subgroups requiring special attention and to tracking outcomes. Applied Public Health Research VHI uses applied public health research to address the economic costs of vision disorders and develop cost-effectiveness models for eye diseases among various populations. Estimating the true economic burden is essential for informing policymakers and for obtaining necessary resources to develop and implement effective interventions. Other VHI work that informs future planning efforts includes data analyses and systematic reviews of critical topics. Programs and Policy In the area of programs and policy, VHI works collaboratively with the National Eye Institute and other government agencies, nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations. As an example, our work with Prevent Blindness America, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and federal, state, and local agencies has sought to improve and expand health systems and provide solutions in the delivery and quality of effective interventions. This work has led to support for vision surveillance systems, enhanced design of future health information technologies, enhanced vision screening programs, and new collaborative modalities as exemplified by the formation of an NACDD Vision Health Interest Group.
Division of Diabetes Translation Conference National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Meeting
Professional and public education materials are available.
Jinan Saaddine, M.D., M.P.H.,Medical Epidemiologist/Team Leader
Swathi Sekar, Fellow