Children's Vision Bill Introduced in House of Representatives

Children's Vision Bill Introduced in House of Representatives

Optical Allies Unite on Companion Senate Legislation

Washington, D.C. (October 2, 2006) – U.S. Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY), with lead sponsors Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Gene Green (D-TX) and John Sullivan (R-OK), this week introduced the “Kids Vision Care Act of 2006” (H.R. 6227), to increase the number of children who receive vision care. If enacted, the bill would allocate funds for states to treat vision problems in children, as well as to educate residents about healthy vision.

The legislation, which is supported by the alliance of the Vision Council of America (VCA), AmericanAcademy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the American Optometric Association and Prevent Blindness America, focuses on providing children the follow-up care needed after being identified by a vision screening or comprehensive eye exam.

“Uniting to support one piece of legislation is a major victory for the optical community,” noted Ed Greene, VCA chief executive officer. “We are extremely pleased that the alliance has remained dedicated to policy, rather than politics, and have succeeded in introducing that policy in the Senate and now in the House of Representatives.”

The bill serves as a companion to the “Vision Care for Kids Act” (S. 3685), introduced by Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond in July. The lead sponsors for the House legislation sit on the Energy and Commerce committee, the committee of jurisdiction for Health and Human Services-related legislation. This is advantageous, as it will allow the bill to move more quickly through the legislative process.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one in three children received a vision screening or eye exam before entering kindergarten. Since nearly two-thirds of children who fail vision screenings do not comply with recommended treatment, many children enter school with uncorrected vision problems.

“Addressing the large number of children who receive no follow-up vision care is a common goal throughout the vision community. With the support of the allied vision organizations, we can be able to make great inroads on this important issue,” noted Greene.

VCA encourages all members of the vision community to contact their Congressman and ask him or her to support this legislation. For more information on the “Kids Vision Care Act for 2006” or to write to your Congressman, please visit www.2020advocacy.com.