Vision and Eye Health in Population Health

Public Health Systems of Care

Prevent Blindness promotes equitable access to vision and eye health for all Americans, regardless of age, racial and ethnic background, or socioeconomic circumstances. Unfortunately, too many Americans struggle to access quality eye care and treatments. A systems-level approach can help to ensure that all Americans can access vision and eye health information, assessment, and treatment.

A systems-level approach to vision and eye health includes numerous components that, when employed together, can help reduce the burden of vision and eye health on individuals and communities. Such aspects of a system of care include:

  • Surveillance: Surveillance is necessary to assess the number of people affected by any eye disease or condition, to determine where the need is greatest, and to understand the demographics of the population impacted.
  • Public health screenings and eye examinations: When employed together, screenings and eye examinations are complementary approaches to assessing eye problems; they are not competing health strategies. Public health screenings (provided they employ methods that are proven to detect vision problems and eye diseases and include a verifiable connection to follow-up eye care) that are offered in community settings create access points for care and promote early detection in high risk and underserved populations.
  • Public education and awareness: Informational campaigns designed to prevent disease, inform the public of modifiable and unmodifiable risk factors, and promote healthful behaviors are essential in motivating individuals to seek care and drive demand for services from state and community leaders, who may engage multiple community, private sector, and nongovernmental stakeholders to partner on meeting this demand.