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Statement by NEI Director Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., on National Academies’ report outlining public health strategies to promote and protect healthy vision for all Americans

NEI commends the panel for its thorough and thoughtful investigation and insightful recommendations.
September 15, 2016
Young boy gets eye exam.

Young boy gets eye exam

Today, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) released “Making Eye Health A Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow.” The report culminates two years of in-depth analysis and discussion undertaken as a  consensus study on Public Health Approaches to Reduce Vision Impairment and Promote Eye Health .

The study provides a detailed assessment of the importance of vision and the need to evaluate, monitor, and protect eye health to reduce vision impairment throughout the lifespan and to help achieve better health equity and quality of life for all Americans. The study was co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health through the National Eye Institute, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several professional organizations and nonprofit patient advocacy groups.

The study focused on four broad topics:

  • Public health burden of eye disease and vision loss
  • Prevention and care of eye disease and impaired vision
  • Evidence-based health promotion interventions for vision loss
  • Collaborative strategies to promote vision and eye health as a public health priority

The 450-page report, authored by a 15-member expert panel led by Steven Teutsch, M.D., MPH, includes nine recommendations. It calls on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, professional education programs, and state and local health departments and their communities to take nationwide action toward reducing the burden of vision impairment across the lifespan, from the youngest to the oldest among us.

We at NEI commend the expert panel for its thorough and thoughtful investigation and its insightful recommendations.  NEI is considering how best to implement the recommendations that relate to the mission of the institute. NEI reaffirms its commitment to the NIH mission to fund and conduct scientific research in support of an evidence base for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of injuries, diseases and conditions that result in visual impairment, and the promotion of eye health for all Americans.    


Maria Zacharias