State advocates and program and policy decision makers have multiple “entry points” to the system of services affecting children’s vision and eye health. Actions that strengthen screening protocols, improve access to diagnostic exams and treatment, and bolster capacity for surveillance and performance measurement all contribute to the development and support of a comprehensive approach. These actions could include:
- Examining existing data to identify geographic, socioeconomic, and racial disparities in access to services and outcomes.
- Identifying gaps in data capacity.
- Clarifying existing state mandates, protocols, and guidelines for vision screening, and gauging the uniformity of their application across jurisdictions and the degree to which they align with current standards of practice.
- Convening stakeholders for priority setting and planning.
To be successful, these efforts require the knowledge, insights, and contributions of many stakeholders:
- Public health leaders
- Ophthalmologists and Optometrists
- Primary care providers (including pediatricians, community health centers, and other “medical homes”)
- Early childhood educators
- Early care and education agencies
- Community organizations
- Insurance providers, Medicaid/CHIP, and other funders
- Epidemiologists and health information system specialists
Each of these stakeholders has a unique role to play in building and sustaining a comprehensive, effective system. Working together, they—and you—can forge a stronger vision and eye care system, ultimately improving the health and wellbeing of all children in your state.