The U.S. Congress has increased spending to a number of programs that impact vision and eye health in its Fiscal Year 2018 “omnibus” legislation.
As a result of advocacy by Prevent Blindness and its affiliates, partners, and advocates across the country, the FY2018 Labor-HHS-Education legislation increases funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Vision Health Initiative from $525,000 to $1 million and their Glaucoma project from $3.3 million to $4 million. Both programs have been identified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) as having a vital role in addressing the challenges that exist for preventing blindness and preserving sight.
These increases are part of an overall spending boost to the Department of Health and Human Services, including to other agencies like the Health Resources and Services Administration and its Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and the National Eye Institute under the National Institutes of Health.
Vision loss is often preventable, but without the necessary funding to better understand eye conditions, treatment options, and development of public health systems and infrastructure to disseminate good science and prevention strategies, millions of Americans face significant threats to their independence, health, and economic livelihoods.
There is still much to be done through continued, long-term federal investment to alleviate the national burden of vision impairment, but it is to the credit of Congress for recognizing the need to invest in vision and eye health by passing H.R. 1625.
SOURCE: Prevent Blindness press release