• American Academy of Ophthalmology to Advance Equity in Children’s Vision and Eye Health Through Education, Advocacy, and Partnerships

    SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Ending inequities in healthcare will require teamwork. That’s why the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Prevent Blindness teamed up to launch the Children’s Vision Equity Alliance (CVEA). The Alliance brings together experts and resources from eye health, education, and public health organizations across the United States to advance equity in children’s vision and eye health. The CVEA is working to increase awareness of the importance of good vision to children’s development, advocating for improved access to vision care, and developing partnerships to support eye health equity for children. The Alliance’s website already includes a wide variety of resources.

    Disparities in health and health care persist despite decades of recognition and mandates to eliminate them. According to the recent report from the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health,Children’s Vision and Eye Health: A Snapshot of Current National Issues 2nd Edition,” children experiencing health and socioeconomic inequities have lower rates of vision testing, experience disparities in visual impairment, and have reduced access to care. Additionally, Latino and Black/African-American children are two to three times more likely to have unmet vision needs. Without early detection and treatment, uncorrected vision disorders can impair child development, interfere with learning, and even lead to permanent vision loss.

    Stephanie J. Marioneaux, MD, is chair of the CVEA. She is a long-time advocate on ophthalmic issues, a former member of the Academy’s Board of Trustees, and current member of Prevent Blindness’ Board of Directors.

    “I am proud that ophthalmologists, optometrists, public health and policy professionals, school nurses and professional society executives are working towards a common goal to identify and address the special vision concerns of underrepresented minority children,” Dr. Marioneaux said. “Together we will work toward health equity for all the nation’s children.”

    The initial goals of the CVEA are to:

    • Foster education about the role of vision in the learning, health, and development of children in the target population of underserved communities of color (specifically Black/African-American, Indigenous and Latinx communities), beginning with a social media campaign to educate targeted populations.
    • Advocate for policies and practices to support equitable access to vision care for children.
    • Develop partnerships to support healthy vision and eye health equity for children.
    • Continue to attract leaders from the fields of ophthalmology, optometry, public health, school nursing, early childhood care and education, medical care, and parent education and engagement who work toward health equity.

     

    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
    The Academy is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, it protects sight and empowers lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for its patients and the public. The Academy innovates to advance the profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Through its EyeSmart® articles on AAO.org, the Academy provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.