AOA Calls for Action to Advance Goals of NASEM Eye Health Report

By: Liana Satenstein

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The American Optometric Association (AOA) this week called on government, private sector and nonprofit stakeholders to join forces in making eye health and vision care a national priority.

The association, in a statement issued earlier this week, said a step in turning this priority into action would be to implement the recommendations made by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine (NASEM) in a foundational report, "Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow." As VMail reported, the NASEM report was issued in September 2016 and it was discussed Monday at a public workshop, according to AOA. The report also was discussed during a Capitol Hill briefing in October 2016, as VMail reported at that time.

AOA also made its call to prioritize vision care on a national basis as part of its overall awareness-building efforts during Save Your Vision Month (March).

"The National Academies' report not only emphasizes the critical importance of eye health and vision care improvement but also identifies the need to responsibly address eye and vision issues that continue to plague millions of Americans," Andrea P. Thau, OD, president of the AOA, said in a statement. "The good news is that doctors of optometry have been on the forefront of implementing these recommendations by using the latest technology and tools to deliver evidence-based care and ensure that everyone has access to in-person, comprehensive eye examinations and much needed clinical eyecare."

With nearly half of Americans identifying blindness as the health condition they fear most, and millions of people nationwide suffering from undiagnosed and undertreated vision impairments, the NASEM report charts a course toward improving eye health across the country and ensuring that everyone has access to quality vision care, AOA said in its statement. The plan elevates the importance of efforts by doctors of optometry to expand clinical eyecare services and access to regular in-person comprehensive eye examinations for everyone.

AOA also is leveraging Save Your Vision Month with a focus on improving public awareness of the dangers to eye health posed by prolonged use of digital devices by working toward driving media coverage in national outlets on blue light and digital eye strain awareness, according to its statement.

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