Experts Eye Advances in Children's Vision Care
Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2007) – Leading researchers and experts convened today in an unprecedented summit on children’s vision health. The Vision Summit, held on the heels of recently introduced federal children’s vision legislation, provided a unique opportunity for vision health advocates to review the national research and state-based programs to enhance vision care for children.
Despite the fact that visual impairment can lead to lifelong vision loss, two in three children do not receive any preventive vision care before starting elementary school. What’s more, almost a third of students never receive an eye exam before graduating high school.
The Better Vision Institute (BVI), a group composed of ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians, used its first-ever Vision Summit to address this issue by reviewing the latest data, best practices for vision screenings and eye exams, and the effectiveness of different state policy models to provide children’s vision care.
“The Vision Summit is a ‘meeting of the minds’ for children’s vision health,” said Cathy Doty, OD, a pediatric optometrist and immediate past-chairman of the BVI. “Our goal was to bring cross-disciplinary thought leaders together to objectively assess where we currently stand and to plan for how we can improve the vision care system for future generations.”
Attendees at theSummitincluded representatives from the vision, healthcare and education fields. Speakers from the National Eye Institute shared current research at the national level with attendees, including highlights from the Vision in Preschoolers Study – a clinical study to assess the accuracy of multiple vision screening tests. Additionally, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed research on visual impairment and the use of eyecare services among children.
On the state level, experts discussed implementation of recently enacted children’s vision care policy. Since 1999, seven states have passed legislation to increase the number of children who receive vision care. Speakers from five of these states provided “lessons learned” on their individual states policy, ranging from vision problem identification to treatment protocols.
Children’s vision care will remain a priority inWashington,D.C.With bipartisan support, The House of Representatives introduced the “Vision Care for Kids Act of 2007” in January to treat vision problems in children, as well as to educate Americans about healthy vision. The Senate complement of the bill will be introduced in April.
“By taking a look at children’s vision care from both a national and state level, we can provide Summit attendees with the full picture of what is going on to improve the current system,” said Doty. “We hope thatSummit attendees will leaveWashingtonwith new tools, resources and contacts to help them in their efforts to improve children’s vision health.”
For more about the speakers and research presented at the Vision Summit, please visit www.bettervisioninstitute.org. Additional information regarding children’s vision care can be found at www.2020advocacy.com.