Prevent Blindness to Hold 14th Annual ‘Eyes on Capitol Hill’ Advocacy Event

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CHICAGO—Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest non-profit eye health organization, will hold its 14th annual “Eyes on Capitol Hill” advocacy day on Tuesday, July 16, in Washington, D.C. The event brings together people affected by vision issues with government representatives and their staff members to discuss the importance of vision programs and funding requests that save sight, according to an announcement. A reception for the Congressional Vision Caucus will be held the evening of this Capitol Hill event.

This year’s Eyes on Capitol Hill advocates will ask 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 the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“Vision and eye health play a direct role in a child’s healthy development and learning readiness, a working-age adult’s ability to be productive and remain healthy, and a senior’s ability to live independently,” Prevent Blindness president and chief executive officer Jeff Todd said in the announcement. “By funding vision research, preventive services and basic healthcare needs today, we can actually save millions of dollars in the future.”

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, the organization said. Annual costs are projected to increase to $717 billion by 2050 without significant investments in vision and eye health.

In addition, all Eyes on Capitol Hill delegates are expected to attend the eighth annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, July 17.

For more information on Eyes on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Vision Caucus reception, or Prevent Blindness and its advocacy initiatives, please call (800) 331-2020 or visit https://www.preventblindness.org/advocacy-prevent-blindness.