Strategic Planning

Since NEI was established over 50 years ago, strategic planning activities have culminated in a series of national plans and workshop reports that identify needs and opportunities in vision research. These planning efforts have relied primarily on the expertise of NEI-funded investigators and the vision community to review the state of the science and describe current research required to advance progress in treating and curing visual disorders and blindness. The last report was published in August 2012: Vision Research: Needs, Gaps, and Opportunities (PDF 2.8 MB). The plan was organized around NEI’s six core program areas: 1) Retinal Diseases; 2) Corneal Diseases; 3) Lens and Cataract; 4) Glaucoma and Optic Neuropathies; 5) Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Visual Processing; 6) Low Vision and Blindness Rehabilitation.

The 2012 NEI planning process also led NEI to launch the Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI). AGI started with an ideation challenge competition broadly seeking audacious yet feasible ideas to transform vision care. Following a large strategic planning summit in 2013, NEI announced the audacious goal to restore vision through regeneration of the retina.

2020 Vision for the Future

As NEI develops a strategic plan for 2020 and beyond, NEI is engaging stakeholders including researchers, patients, clinicians, care givers, and vision advocates. In October 2019, NEI Council endorsed a strategy to organize the plan around cross-cutting Areas of Emphasis. For each Area of Emphasis, NEI will host panels composed of experts representing each of NEI’s program areas with the aim of fostering dialogues across traditional vision research disciplines and to capitalizing on recent scientific opportunities.

Areas of Emphasis

Visual System in Health and Disease  -  From Genes to Disease Mechanisms  ·         Biology and Neuroscience of Vision  ·         Immune System and Eye Health  Capitalizing on Emerging Fields  -  Regenerative Medicine  - Data Science  Preventing Vision Loss and Enhancing Well-being  - Individual Quality of Life  - Public Health and Disparities Research

Request for Information

NEI invites the scientific research community, health professionals, patient advocates, professional societies, and the general public to contribute feedback on research needs, opportunities, and areas of emphasis for vision research over the next five years through a Request for Information (RFI).  The RFI receipt date is January 8, 2020.

Specifically, the RFI requests input to the following questions:

  • What are the most significant scientific discoveries in vision research since 2012?
  • What new opportunities have been enabled by scientific discoveries or technology development?
  • What needs and gaps in research, health, and quality-of-life should be addressed by the NEI?


For questions about NEI’s strategic planning, please contact:

Office of Program Planning and Analysis
National Eye Institute
31 Center Drive MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510

Last updated: November 7, 2019