Significant cuts proposed for programs that help prevent blindness and preserve sight
President Trump has released his annual budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2021, which contains significant or even total cuts for programs that help prevent blindness and preserve sight for children, working adults, aging Americans, and those who live with chronic disease.
For the fourth consecutive year, the President proposes to eliminate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s vision and eye health programs and shift chronic disease prevention and health promotion activities into a block grant formula. The CDC’s vision and eye health program, which is currently funded through FY 2020 at $1 million, has already faced over a decade of stagnant resource levels. In addition, the National Eye Institute (NEI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would see a $75 million cut from its current level of $824 million. As well, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) would see a $724 million cut to its overall budget in FY2021 under the President’s request.
“At a time when rates of vision impairment and eye disease are increasing, due to our rapidly aging population and as a result of increased incidents of chronic diseases, our nation needs policies that invest in our national vision and eye health,” Jeff Todd, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness states. “Now is the time to invest in—not cut—surveillance, health research, and prevention. We call upon Congress to reject these harmful policies. Our nation needs policies that help save Americans from the significant burden of vision impairment and eye disease.”