Surveillance Meeting

Vision loss is a serious public health problem in the United States and will get worse in the next 30 years because of the aging population, increase in chronic diseases affecting the eye and vision, and changing demographics of the U.S. population. There are significant variations among demographic groups in vision outcomes. Therefore, the vision and eye care communities have identified the need to reduce population disparities to prevent visual loss and provide access to eye care services as top public health priorities in Healthy People 2020 (HP2020)External.
CDC convened an expert panel, 14 national and international experts, to identify action steps and priorities to strengthen national and state surveillance systems to help assess and monitor disparities in eye health, vision loss, and access to eye care over time and respond to national, state, and local needs. The product of the meeting is eight papers that are published in a supplement at the American Journal of Ophthalmology December 2012, volume 154 (supplement).

The panel members agreed on how a surveillance system would work and what the minimal content of such a system might entail. A vision surveillance system needs to—

  1. Link data collection and analyses with ongoing public health interventions to improve eye health disparities.
  2. Effectively assess vision loss.
  3. Effectively assess eye care use.
  4. Include defined populations to assess the disparities in vision loss and in using eye care services.
  5. Include and sustain ophthalmic and vision measurement and question components within national surveys.
  6. Be forged among federal agencies and other stakeholders to monitor the nation’s eye health and eye care use for trends in disparity.