Making Eye Health a Population Imperative: A Vision for Tomorrow—A Report by the Committee on Public Health Approaches to Reduce Vision Impairment and Promote Eye Health
There are numerous opportunities identified in this report that can lead to meaningful population health benefits. Initially framed as a smaller and more focused effort, the expansion of the report into additional chapters was a direct result of the committee’s thorough and systematic approach to identifying available evidence, understanding existing needs, and identifying essential gaps in current knowledge and practices.
A comprehensive continuum of eye and vision care is identified in the report that highlights prevention, early and accurate diagnosis, and proper care to reduce the impact of vision impairment. To improve eye and vision care and achieve health equity, a population health strategy was developed. This strategy identified specific objectives and included detailed conceptual models targeting specific determinants of health across the full life span. There is a wealth of information identifying clinical and translational research opportunities that will inform clinical researchers and clinicians alike regarding gaps in our current knowledge base. Because effective communication is so important, the report includes an in-depth attempt to define key terminology that will help stakeholders speak a common language. A substantial portion of the report directly calls for greater awareness by the medical community and the public for the important role that comprehensive eye and vision care has on population health. Three key examples include the following: that comprehensive eye examinations are recognized as the criterion standard for improving the nation’s eye, vision, and overall health; that doctors of optometry are recognized as physicians and have physician parity with colleagues in ophthalmology and medicine as per earlier Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policy; and that irreversible vision impairment (e.g., due to diabetes, heart disease, glaucoma, and other major US chronic diseases and conditions) is also recognized as a true chronic condition.