Members of Children's Vision Massachusetts (CVMA) Coalition and Prevent Blindness Advocate for Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness Eyes on Capitol Hill

In the picture from left: Paulette Tattersall, MSc, Director of Prevent Blindness  Northeast Region and Co-Chair of CVMA; Priscilla Kelangi, MA Communications, Manager of Communications and Development, Prevent Blindness Northeast Region; Bruce Moore, OD, Emeritus Professor at New England College of Optometry  and Co-Chair of CVMA; Marcia Feist-Moore, Educator and Prevent Blindness Volunteer.; Shanyn A. Toulouse, MEd, BSN, RN, NCSN, Northeast Regional School Nurse Consultant, Haverhill Public Schools; and Kevin White, Executive Director, Global Vision 2020.

Prevent Blindness held its 13th annual “Eyes on Capitol Hill” program on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, in Washington, D.C.  Members of Children's Vision Massachusetts Coalition and Prevent Blindness met with congressional and senate members, and their staff to advocate about vision and eye health, specifically about children's vision care issues. The group of members included an eye doctor, an educator, a school nurse, and a businessman whose mission is to deliver corrective eyeglasses to the developing world. 

Paulette Tattersall, Director of Prevent Blindness Northeast Region said, “We embrace the opportunity to annually bring new voices to Capitol Hill to speak with our government representatives. It is important to advocate for programs, research and systems that help identify, treat and prevent unnecessary vision loss.”

This year’s Eyes on Capitol Hill meetings were scheduled to discuss with Members of Congress about the impact of vision problems.  Absent significant investment and intervention, the annual cost of vision problems in the U.S. is anticipated to increase from $145 billion currently to $717 billion by 2050.  Specifically, advocates asked elected officials to:

  • Provide at least $3.3 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 to maintain vision and eye health efforts at the Vision Health Initiative (VHI) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Provide $3.5 million to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (MCHB-HRSA) to directly address early identification and treatment of children’s vision problems.
  • Provide at least $4 million for the Glaucoma Project at CDC. 
  • Provide $800 million to the National Eye Institute (NEI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for FY 2019.
  • Protect the CDC’s public health response capabilities from a drastic loss of funding in the absence of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, by providing a corresponding budget increase in FY 2019.
  • To join the Congressional Vision Caucus.