Eighth Annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit

Prevent Blindness will hold its eighth annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit on July 17, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Summit will include a variety of presentations related to this year’s theme, “A Lifetime of Vision.”   

Expected attendees include patient advocates, community-based organizations, national vision and eye health organizations, government agencies, and legislative staff. Those unable to attend in person will have an opportunity to watch a live video stream of event presentations as well as follow the event on Twitter at #eyesummit.

Bill Barkley, a visually impaired adventurer, advocate, and author will be the keynote speaker for the Summit.  Barkley will inspire our audience by reflecting on building a life without limits and overcoming barriers as he shares tales of his accomplishments including being the first deaf-blind individual to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa in 2008, leading expeditions for deaf teenagers to the Amazon jungle and the Grand Canyon, and being the first deaf-blind person to complete the Boston Marathon. 

Additional presentations at the Focus on Eye Health Summit include:

  • The Scope of Vision and Eye Health – Guidance from Surveillance-  David Rein, PhD, and John Whittenborn, NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Emerging Sight – Vision and the Young Child- Moderated by Jean Ramsey, MD, MPH, Boston University and Sandra S. Block, OD, MEd, MPH, Illinois College of Optometry, this session will include presentations by Alejandra de Alba Campomanes, MD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco, Dawn DeCarlo, OD, MS, MSPH, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Edwin Marshall, OD, MS, MPH, Indiana University
  • Looking Forward – Promoting Sight in Young Adults- Kristina Beaugh, MPH, National Eye Health Education Program
  • Losing Vision and Gaining Perspective – Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University
  • Strategic Vision: Population Health and Vision in the Military- Moderated by James Jorkasky, Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, this session will include presentations by Col. Mark Reynolds, MD, MPH and David Eliason, MD, DoD/VA Vision Center of Excellence
  • Center on Vision and Population Health- Moderated by Heather Whitson, MD, MHS, Duke University, this session will include a presentation by Kira Baldonado, Prevent Blindness
  • The Keystone for Independence: Low Vision, Vision Loss, and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults- Moderated by  Heather Whitson, MD, MHS, Duke University, this session will include presentations by Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University, Joshua R. Ehrlich, MD, MPH, University of Michigan, and Marcus Escobedo, MPA, The John A. Hartford Foundation

At the Summit, Prevent Blindness will formally present the 2019 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health to Cynthia Owsley, PhD, MSPH, Nathan E. Miles Chair of Ophthalmology, and Director of the Clinical Research Unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.  The Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health recognizes an individual, team, or organization that has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health at the community, state, national, and/or international level.

Summit sponsorship opportunities are available. Current Gold sponsors are Genentech, International Retinal Research Foundation, Lighthouse Guild, National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, NORC at the University of Chicago, Shire, the Center for Vision and Population Health, and The EyeSight Foundation of Alabama.

Silver sponsors include the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Optometric Association, Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology, Bausch Foundation, BrightFocus Foundation, CooperVision, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Lions Clubs International, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, OneSight, Research to Prevent Blindness, Vision 2020 USA, Vision Impact Institute, and VisionServe Alliance.

“Every year, the Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit brings dedicated leaders in the vision and eye health field together with those in public health and community outreach to discuss the best ways to improve vision for children, adults, and seniors,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We especially thank all of our sponsors for their instrumental role and making this important event so successful.”

Prevent Blindness will also hold its annual Eyes on Capitol Hill event, providing volunteer patient advocates with the opportunity to meet with their government representatives on Tuesday, July 16.  A reception for the Congressional Vision Caucus will be held the evening of this Capitol Hill event.

To register or for more information about the 2019 Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit and sponsorship opportunities, please visit or call (800) 331-2020.

Download a copy of the 2019 Focus on Eye Health National Summit press release.