Prevent Blindness applauds passage of the final Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations legislation, which includes the first increase to the Vision Health Initiative (VHI) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 2017.
The VHI, which conducts critical surveillance and collaborates with states and communities on strategies to prevent vision loss and eye disease, will be funded at $1.5 million in FY22. This increase of $500,000 brings the VHI to its highest funding level in over a decade. Notably, Congress directs the VHI to improve surveillance efforts, including social, economic, and environmental connects to eye healthcare disparities. Additionally, Congress agreed to continue funding the CDC’s glaucoma prevention efforts at the $4 million level.
“Prevent Blindness thanks Congress for recognizing the importance of the vision and eye health programs at the CDC,” said Jeff Todd, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “This investment in the Vision Health Initiative is a long-awaited and important step in protecting American’s eyesight through our national public health strategy. The VHI’s work is more important than ever as over 93 million Americans are at high risk of vision loss. This critical and timely investment will strengthen the VHI’s ability to collaborate with states and communities around early detection, intervention, and prevention efforts and will help address disparities in equitable access to eye care.”
The FY2022 legislation that was passed by the House and Senate will be signed into law by President Biden before the final short-term continuing resolution expires on March 11. On March 1 and 2, Prevent Blindness hosted its annual “Eyes on Capitol Hill” legislative advocacy day during which 70 advocates from 21 states met with lawmakers to discuss FY2023 appropriations for the CDC’s vision and eye health programs. For additional information on the upcoming FY2023 appropriations bill, visit www.preventblindness.org/advocacy.