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Vision Advocates Lobby U.S. Surgeon General for a Call to Action

Blindness prevention advocacy group Vision 2020/USA, along with allied organizations dedicated to improving vision and eye health in the United States, have formally asked U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams to initiate a “Call to Action” to mark the year 2020. A formal request was signed on by 27 national leading organizations—each a member of Vision 2020/USA—and was delivered on Jan. 18.
 
Surgeon General Calls to Action are science-based summary documents intended to stimulate action nationwide to solve an urgent public health problem, typically across multiple sectors. This Call to Action would be used to increase public awareness, improve surveillance, clarify the disability and financial cost from vision loss, help standardize public health and clinical practice, and, ultimately, ensure that all people enjoy the lifelong benefits of healthy eyes and clear sight. Previous calls to action have addressed skin cancer, healthy aging, and national wellness. The 2018 Call to Action addresses opioid dependency.
 
In 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) issued the report “Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow,” providing a multi-stakeholder analysis of issues related to vision from a public health perspective, along with detailed recommendations for significantly improving eye health in the United States. A key recommendation is for a Call to Action report to be produced by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Office of the Surgeon General to motivate nationwide action addressing the increasing burden of vision impairment across the lifespan of people in the United States.
 
 “Vision issues can effect anyone across the age spectrum, from infants to seniors, impacting everything from learning to the ability to work and be independent,” says Mitchell V. Brinks, M.D., M.P.H., chair of Vision 2020/USA. “With the help of U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and his colleagues, we can work together to successfully address and improve vision health in our country.”
 
“The NASEM report clearly outlined the need for, and benefits arising from, improving vision and eye health programs and services, as well as recommendations on the tactics to reach that goal,” says Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We are proud to join in the effort to engage entities across the country, including professional groups, Federal, State and local governments, and more, to address the rising numbers of vision loss and impairment.” 
 
Other groups signing onto the letter include American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association, The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Casey Eye Institute, Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, Dean McGee Eye Institute, Eye Bank Association of America, Himalayan Cataract Project, Hellen Keller International, Illinois College of Optometry, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness- North America Region, International Eye Foundation, Lighthouse Guild, Lions Clubs International, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, Orbis International, Prevent Blindness, SEE International, SEVA Foundation, University of Utah- John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, Vision Impact Institute, and Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity International.
 
Click here to view the letter from VISION 2020/USA.  For more information on vision advocacy, education ,and public health efforts, contact The International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) via email or visit iapb.org, or Prevent Blindness at 800-331-2020 and preventblindness.org/prevent-blindness-advocacy-initiatives.