News Briefs Archive

First Vision & Eye Health Surveillance System Launched in U.S.

August 1, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed the nation’s first Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS).

Launched in collaboration with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), the VEHSS is designed to help health-care professionals, researchers, policymakers and state health departments better understand the scope of vision loss, eye disorders and eyecare services in the U.S.

Visitors to the site can search for information about eye conditions and diseases at the state and national levels. They also can use the system to:

• Identify and collect existing data on residents’ vision and eye health.
• Create case definitions to analyze data consistently across sources.
• Analyze data for estimates of:
• The prevalence of eye disorders and disabilities
• The use of eye health services
• Health disparities in visual health treatment and outcomes

The data surveillance system integrates data from a number of sources across multiple years. Included are national survey data, longitudinal population-based studies, registry data, electronic health records and administrative claims records that estimate eye condition prevalence.

According to the CDC, an estimated 61 million adults in the U.S. are at high risk for serious vision loss, and the annual economic impact of major vision problems among Americans older than 40 is more than $145 billion.

Additionally, in a nation-wide poll, respondents across all ethnic and racial groups described loss of eyesight as the worst ailment that could happen to them relative to losing memory, speech, hearing, or a limb. Timely diagnosis and early treatment could prevent as much as 98 percent of visual impairment and blindness in the U.S.

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