Healthy Eyes Healthy People®
The goal of HEHP is for optometrists to change community health programs so that vision services are provided and optometrists are recognized as vital to the health care system.
Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) health promotion and disease prevention initiative, which emphasizes to improve the visual health of the Nation through prevention, early detection, timely treatment, and rehabilitation. The Healthy People 2020 Vision objectives focus on evidence-based interventions to preserve sight and prevent blindness. Healthy People 2020 is based on the accomplishments of 4 previous Healthy People initiatives and is the result of a multiyear process that reflects input from a diverse group of individuals and organizations:
- 1979 Surgeon General’s Report, Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Healthy People 1990: Promoting Health/Preventing Disease: Objectives for the Nation
- Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives
- Healthy People 2010: Objectives for Improving Health
HP2020 contains health goals and over 600 health objectives, which includes 8 objectives addressing eye and vision conditions, to be met by the year 2020. For more information about the HP 2020 vision objectives click here.
In the past, the program has elected to directly link HEHP grants to federally-defined Healthy People® 2020 objectives. However, in an effort to tackle undiagnosed children’s vision disorders, this year’s HEHP grants will focus directly on addressing the AOA’s proposed children’s vision objective:
“Increase the proportion of children aged 18 years and under who have received an eye exam by an optometrist over the next 12 months.”
In addition, HEHP grants will seek expanded community-based solutions to tackle the public health emergency of prevalent undiagnosed vision disorders. The AOA believes that this public health emergency in vision and eye health must be resolved and that targeted efforts and new data from carefully selected 2014 HEHP grant applicants will be helpful in steering a course of action to more fully address the vision and eye health needs of Americans.
The eyes are an important, but often overlooked, part of overall health. Despite the preventable nature of some vision impairments, many people do not receive recommended exams. A visit to an eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam can help to detect common vision problems and eye diseases.
Potential grantees should develop and clearly describe pathways to increase access to comprehensive vision and eye health care while also providing the AOA with non-identified data collected; including but not limited to patient demographics, vision /eye health diagnosis and treatment.
Grantees should be aware that despite the current efforts to provide vision care for the general public, there is considerable evidence of disparities in both the access and utilization of professional vision care. Sadly, appropriate assurance of access to timely comprehensive vision care services by a professional eye care provider is often being sidetracked by vision screenings that produce an inordinate number of “false negatives” and /or symptomatic patients simply not being referred to professional eye care services directly. Healthy vision is an essential part of everyday life, influencing how Americans of all ages learn, communicate, work, play, and interact with the world. Yet millions of Americans live with visual impairment, and many more remain at risk for eye disease.
Optometry Cares — The AOA Foundation provides grants to state optometric associations to help address the vision needs of communities. Between 2004-2013, 350 grants totaling $1,269,035 were awarded to State Optometric Associations and made possible by the ophthalmic industry supporters Vision Service Plan (VSP) from 2004-2009 and Luxottica Group from 2004-2014. These innovative HEHP collaborative community outreach program grants addressed one of the ten HP 2010 or one of the eight HP 2020 vision objectives.
For additional information contact the AOA Foundation at Foundation@aoa.org.