Thursday, April 30, 2009

National Eye Institute's 40th Anniversary and new Health and Human Services Secretary

The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Vision Caucus (CVC) circulated a Dear Colleague letter this week to other members of the CVC, urging their colleagues to join Representatives Baldwin and Sessions in recognizing the 40th anniversary of the National Eye Institute. Representative Baldwin introduced House Resolution 366 on April 27 to acknowledge this milestone anniversary and to designate 2010-2020 as the Decade of Vision.

Prevent Blindness America thanks Representative Baldwin and her HR 366 co-sponsors for recognizing vision impairment and eye disease as a major public health problem. We applaud the National Eye Institute for playing a critical role as a leader in prevention research benefiting adults and children and for continuing to raise awareness about vision and eye health through the upcoming Decade of Vision.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was confirmed and sworn in as United States Secretary of Health and Human Services earlier this week. Prevent Blindness America looks forward to working with Secretary Sebelius in this time of health care reform.

For more information about Prevent Blindness America's position on health care reform and our policy agenda for the First Session of the 111th Congress, go to:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Florida House of Representatives Recognizes Sports Eye Safety

Prevent Blindness America and Prevent Blindness Florida are pleased to announce that the Florida House of Representatives adopted HR 9095, a resolution recognizing the seriousness of sports-related eye injuries in children and the importance of sports eye safety to protect the children of Florida.

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States, and 90% of these injuries can be avoided with the use of protective eyewear. Prevent Blindness America applauds the Florida House of Representatives for their commitment to children's eye health.

For more information about sports eye injuries and how you can protect your child's sight, go to

A copy of the adopted Florida resolution may be found at:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Share Your Stories of Vision for Health Care Reform

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Max Baucus and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy sent a letter to President Obama today affirming their mutual intention to move on health care reform in the 111th Congress. It is imperative that vision health and vision care insurance coverage be recognized as components of health care reform.

Share your stories about the importance of vision health and coverage with Prevent Blindness America through our Facebook group page or by emailing

To read the full letter to President Obama, go to

National Health Council Petition for Health Care Change

The National Health Council, an organization representing 120 national health-related organizations (including Prevent Blindness America) is seeking patient advocates to join their Put Patients First campaign and sign their Petition for Change. The Council's goal is to collect 1 million signatures in 2009 to demonstrate to elected officials that the public needs patient-focused health care reform.

The Put Patients First campaign emphasizes five health care principles:
1. Cover Everyone
2. Curb Costs Responsibly
3. Abolish Exclusions of Pre-Existing Conditions
4. Eliminate Lifetime Caps
5. Ensure Respect at the End of Life.

Sign the petition ( and share your stories about the importance of vision health and coverage with the National Health Council ( and with Prevent Blindness America through our Facebook group page or by emailing

For more information about Prevent Blindness America, your eye health and our public policy positions, go to

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2009 Health Care Reform

The Senate Finance Committee and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee are each working on separate health care reform bills, with plans to combine the two bills on the Senate floor. The Senate Finance Committee will hold three round table discussions with health care stakeholders on April 21, May 5 and May 14 in preparation for the anticipated health care reform legislation. White House Office for Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle spoke at a briefing today and indicated that she is hopeful that a health care reform bill will become law this year.

As the health reform debate moves forward, Prevent Blindness America will seek to ensure that vision health and vision care are included in any reform piece, and we will be asking our advocates to support these efforts. To download a copy of Prevent Blindness America's Statement for Health Care Reform or our Public Policy Agenda for the 111th Congress, go to

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Prevent Blindness America thanks the Congressional Vision Caucus for their leadership

Congressional Vision Caucus Co-Chairs Gene Green, David Price and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen sent a Dear Colleague Letter to Appropriations Chair David Obey and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt requesting $4.5 million in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Vision Health Initiative. This support and leadership will help Prevent Blindness America grow this critically important program.

The Vision Health Initiative was created in 2003 to address vision problems in the U.S. by seeking to identify and screen individuals at risk for vision loss. Over the past five years, this important initiative has developed programs on the ground that are identifying vision problems early and linking patients to needed care. The Vision Health Initiative is a model for public/private partnerships that create programs that work and help people most in need.

Prevent Blindness America would like to thank all of our advocates who contacted their Member of Congress regarding this funding request letter. To see a copy of the Dear Colleague Letter, go to

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Vision Care for Kids Act

By an overwhelming majority, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 577, the Vision Care for Kids Act, on March 31, 2009. This important legislation provides children with appropriate follow-up care once they have been identified with a potential vision problem through a comprehensive vision exam or vision screening. One in four school-age children has a vision problem significant enough to affect learning. As President Obama recently stated, "No child should be falling behind at school because he can't hear the teacher or see the blackboard..."

Prevent Blindness America applauds our policymakers for their actions to preserve children's vision health through passage of the Vision Care for Kids Act.

For more information on your child's vision health go to