Prevent Blindness America advocates funding eye-health programs

July 1, 2009
Optometry Times Staff Reports

Prevent Blindness America is leading the effort to secure federal funding for programs that prevent blindness and preserve sight.

Key Points

Chicago-Prevent Blindness America (PBA) is leading the effort to secure federal funding for programs that prevent blindness and preserve sight.

PBA provided written testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittees to urge Congress to support increased funding for federal vision health and eye programs for fiscal year 2010. Specifically, PBA requested $4.5 million to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vision Health Initiative, $736 million for the National Eye Institute, and $32.4 billion for the National Institutes of Health to support biomedical research.

More than 80 million Americans are at risk for a potentially blinding eye disease, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract, and age-related macular degeneration, according to the PBA. A recent PBA study estimated the annual costs associated with adult vision problems in the United States at $51.4 billion.

"We understand the crucial impact that vision research has on saving sight and have made it part of our mission to fund projects that help to protect our eyes and maintain healthy vision," said Hugh R. Parry, president and chief executive officer of PBA.

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