Vision Health Initiative's Role in Health Equity

Key points

  • Vision Health Initiative (VHI) collaborates with national, state, and local partners to advance vision health equity.
  • The Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS) estimates US vision loss and eye disease prevalence.
  • VHI's Glaucoma Detection Program works to improve glaucoma screening and management.
  • VHI funds state programs to expand vision screening and eye care access.
graphic of group of people for health equity


VHI partners with professional and community organizations, tribes, researchers, and community members to advance vision health equity. These partnerships support programs and initiatives to prevent vision loss and blindness in disproportionately affected communities.


VHI partnered with NORC at the University of Chicago to develop the national VEHSS. Using innovative statistical modeling, VEHSS estimates the prevalence of vision loss, eye disorders, and eye care services in the United States.

VEHSS is currently working to include social determinants of health data. This could enable local programs to identify social factors associated with vision impairment in their communities.

VHI's Glaucoma Detection Program

VHI's Glaucoma Detection Program funds three academic institutions to help reach populations disproportionately affected by vision loss.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan developed the Screening and Interventions for Glaucoma and eye Health through Telemedicine (SIGHT) studies. These studies work to improve glaucoma screening and management among populations at high risk for glaucoma. The SIGHT studies address barriers such as lack of health insurance, poverty, inadequate transportation, and difficulty finding eye care specialists.

VHI's State Partnership Projects

VHI works with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) to fund eight state partners working to improve vision health equity. Partnered with NACDD, VHI also supports leadership development and sustainable interventions to build state capacity.

Interventions focus on populations at higher risk of vision loss and least likely to have access to eye care. Project sites provide access to vision screening through local health departments, community health clinics, and telehealth services. As sites move to a self-sustaining model, patients benefit from having access to more permanent eye care resources.