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State Approaches to Children’s Vison and Eye Heath

Innovative State Approaches to Children’s Vision and Eye Health

Prevent Blindness established the NCCVEH in 2009 to strengthen the nation’s public health system for children’s vision. Over the past 10+ years, the NCCVEH has reshaped children’s vision health systems to ensure that no child’s future is limited by an undiagnosed vision problem. In 2019 alone, the NCCVEH impacted more than 13 million children through improved access to eye care, uniformity in practice and policies, and increased education and awareness of the role of vision in childhood.

The NCCVEH works with states to develop comprehensive and sustainable vision and eye health programs and serves as a catalyst to improve public health systems of care to support children’s vision. The NCCVEH has provided support to programs in 29 states through grants and technical assistance. The NCCVEH recognizes and celebrates the important work done by states to improve the vision and eye health of all children, particularly those at highest risk of vision disorders and limited access to screening and eye care. States have implemented policies, guidelines, and systems-change actions. These state-level best practices guide the U.S. and other countries worldwide toward better vision health.

This report highlights several unique examples of the ways states have improved systems of vision screening and eye care for young children. State actions presented here were developed through two NCCVEH pilot projects, Children’s Vision Quality Improvement Project (QI Project) , and the current Better Vision Together Community of Practice. The goal of the Children’s Vision Quality Improvement Project was to support the development of comprehensive children’s vision and eye health systems. Overviews from two states, Arizona and Ohio, are included in the following section. Better Vision Together teams are developing best practices that are shared on the project’s website.

Initiatives developed through states’ participation with NCCVEH projects include:

  • enlisting primary care providers to improve vision screening and eye care
  • engaging families in the development of culturally competent parent-education messaging about children’s vision
  • working with and supporting school nurses in providing quality periodic vision screening of school-age children
  • testing parental responses to referral letters and other communication when their child does not pass a vision screening to encourage follow-up to eye care
  • development of educational materials and forms for eye care professionals to complete and return to schools in order for teachers and school nurses to assist with implementing
  • prescribed vision treatment plans
  • reviewing screening practices for young children (birth to age 8) with a special focus on children from birth to age 3, and publishing a state blueprint for a comprehensive and aligned system of vision screening
  • implementing a vision screening system with data collection
  • improving the system of vision examinations and care for children receiving early intervention services

We issue a “call to action” to all states to learn from peers, replicate successful interventions, and share lessons learned with the NCCVEH.

Tell us about your successes by contacting Donna Fishman, Director, NCCVEH at [email protected].

National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness. 2020. Children’s Vision and Eye Health: A Snapshot of Current National Issues (2nd ed.) Chicago, IL: National Center for Children’s Vision  and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness.