CDC launches the nation’s first vision and eye health surveillance system

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 23, 2018
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


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 eye care services in the United States.

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.


An estimated 61 million adults in the United States 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 nationwide 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% of visual impairment and blindnessexternal icon in the United States.


Monday, July 23, 2018


Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System website


Page last reviewed: July 23, 2018