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    NASEM declares eye health a public health imperative


    While this is the first major report citing eye health as a public imperative, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously launched a smaller Vision Health Initiative with similar goals as the NASEM report, according to Dr. Teutsch.

    “I do see this as a landmark report, but the real question is then: How do we get the country to take the appropriate actions?” he asked. “Academies can do a fair bit in terms of presenting the information, but we are very dependent upon other other stakeholders, advocacy groups, and professional organizations to work with the decision-makers around the country to actually bring some of the recommendations to fruition.”                                                                                  

    While Dr. Varma believes the report should have been released many years ago, he also urges that it is not too late.

    “This comes at a very timely moment where we are just on the verge of getting hit by the entire baby-boomer generation, which is a huge increase of individuals in their 50s and 60s, when eye disease begins to become more and more prevalent,” he said. “So I think the time is right to begin to have a greater focus—no pun intended—on this condition.”

    AAO praises report

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) pledged its support of recommendations in the committee’s recommendations, which is the first report of its magnitude to press the need for nationwide action on awareness and access for eye care.

    The report references multiple resources from the AAO in support of its recommendations, including the national database of patient outcomes, clinical practice guidelines, and public health efforts.

    "This report is a landmark moment in public health in America as it moves eye health to a prominent position on the national agenda," said David W. Parke II, MD, chief executive officer, AAO. "The action plan outlined by NASEM draws upon and echoes much of the evidence-based work we are already leading on behalf of the nation's community of eye physicians and surgeons to protect the sight and empower the lives of our patients. We look forward to continuing to play a leading role and collaborating with all stakeholders in making these recommendations a reality."


    Jolie Higazi
    Jolie is the Content Specialist for Ophthalmology Times. She can be reached at [email protected]

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