Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System Launched By CDC

Federal health officials have launched a new surveillance program, which is designed to provide better information about vision conditions and eye health nationwide.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a press release on Monday, announcing the launch of the Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS), which is designed to help both the public, health care professionals, researchers, state health departments, and policy makers become more aware of the impact of vision loss, eye disorders, and eye care services in the United States.

The surveillance system the first of its kind for the country and was created in collaboration with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).

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Users of the new site can search for information regarding eye conditions, diseases, vision loss, Medicare claims, survey information, and other data at both the state and national levels.

More than 61 million adults in the United States are at high risk for vision loss, according to CDC estimates. This creates an annual  economic impact of more than $145 billion among Americans over the age of 40.

Other features of the new VEHSS site include the ability to identify and collect existing data on residents’ vision and eye health and analyze the data to estimate the prevalence of eye disorders and disabilities, as well as the use of eye heath services, health disparities in visual health treatment and outcomes.

The new site integrates data from multiple sources, state, federal, and research, and across various years. It includes population-based studies, registry data, electronic health records, population surveys, and administrative claims records that estimate eye condition prevalence.

According to a nationwide poll, loss of eyesight is the worst thing that could happen to a person, relative to losing their memory, speech, hearing, or a limb. Respondents consistently rank vision as one of the most important human faculties.

The CDC advocates quick and early diagnosis and treatment of vision conditions. This can prevent as much as 98% of visual impairment and blindness in the United States. CDC officials say the new site is the first step to toward better prevention.


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