Early Detection of Vision Impairments in Children (EDVI) Act of 2024

The EDVI Act would establish the first federal program to address children’s vision and eye health.

Passing this important legislation would indicate Congress’s commitment to protecting the eyesight of our nation’s children and preventing avoidable vision loss and blindness in children.

You can Help!

Prevent Blindness, a leader in children’s vision and eye health through our National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, envisions a future where children can grow with healthy eyesight and enjoy a lifetime of good vision. The EDVI Act is a children’s health imperative and must be enacted by Congress. Get involved now, and help make the EDVI Act a reality for children and families.

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Background

A child’s vision develops and changes from birth through childhood. Because of these changes, a child should be screened regularly, referred to eye care, and receive any needed treatment and follow-up to care to ensure vision problems are caught early and permanent vision loss is avoided.

While early detection and intervention for vision disorders in children are part of national goals and health care standards, there is currently no federally funded program in the United States that specifically addresses children’s vision and eye health. Other public health programs are in place to support many other important aspects of child health and development— including children’s hearing and oral health. Children’s vision health deserves the same level of action.

States and communities are best positioned to implement a public health system of care for children’s vision and eye health through community, early learning, and school-based health approaches. However, state laws to address children’s vision vary widely in approaches and often lack protocols for referrals to eye care providers and follow-up to ensure eye care was received. States may also lack the necessary resources to modernize, improve, or implement equitable systems of care that match the needs of their youngest citizens.

a girl wearing glasses

a child getting new glasses

Key Provisions of the EDVI Act

The goal of the EDVI Act is to ensure that every child with a possible vision problem is identified and connected to appropriate eye care.  The EDVI Act would support schools, early childhood professionals, health care providers, public health professionals, and families with updated and evidence-based vision screening methods, improve referrals to eye care, and advance follow-up protocols to ensure that children who need eye care treatment receive it before a vision problem leads to potential vision loss.

The EDVI Act will establish state and community based programs across the United States to address children’s vision and eye health. Under the Act, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will award grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements to states, communities, and tribes to:

  • Implement approaches (such as vision screenings) for the early detection of vision concerns in children, referrals for eye exams, and mechanisms for follow-up to ensure that eye care was received,
  • Integrate vision and eye health into ongoing programs and systems of care that already address other aspects of children’s physical, behavioral, and sensory health in places such as early learning or school- and community-based health settings,
  • Identify barriers that keep families from accessing eye care,
  • Reduce disparities in eye health access and outcomes, and
  • Develop state-based data collection, surveillance, and performance improvement systems.

The EDVI Act will establish a national-level technical assistance coordinating center to provide guidance to states or communities that address children’s vision and eye health. The EDVI Act also promotes federal collaboration and coordination across all agencies under HHS and the U.S. Department of Education.