PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA GOES TO WASHINGTON TO SEEK CRITICAL FUNDING SUPPORT

National Non-profit Sends Delegation to Encourage Members of Congress to Support Critical Appropriations Necessary to Prevent Unnecessary Vision Loss

CHICAGO (Feb. 4, 2010) – Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest non-profit eye health and safety organization, will be sending a delegation including its CEO, as well as CEOs from affiliates in Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Iowa, Illinois and Washington to meet with our nation’s leaders to educate them on the need to support critical vision-related programs and appropriations.

Numerous meetings with Representatives and Senators in the 2nd Session of the 111th Congress have been scheduled to specifically ask elected officials to:

·         Provide $5 million in FY 2011 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vision Health Initiative.

·         Allocate $1.2 million in FY 2011 to support the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s National Universal Vision Screening for Young Children’s Coordinating Center.

·         Appropriate $730 million in FY 2011 to the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant.

·         Support increased FY 2011 funding for the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

“The financial situation of our nation’s healthcare system is in crisis,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America.  “We hope that our presence on Capitol Hill will help to educate our nation’s leaders of the benefits of investing in vision and eye health programs today.  By doing so, we will not only be saving sight, but saving money in the future.”

Prevent Blindness America has been deeply involved in advocacy work for more than 100 years.  In fact, the organization was founded by two New York ophthalmologists who worked tirelessly to ensure that all infants born in hospitals in the United States receive sight-saving medicine.  Prevent Blindness America and its network of affiliates continue to work with federal and state government representatives to keep vision and eye health a top priority.

All Senators and Representatives are invited to join the Congressional Vision Caucus (CVC). This caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress dedicated to strengthening and stimulating a national dialogue on the importance of vision health. The CVC is co-chaired by Representatives Gene Green (D-TX), David Price (D-NC), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).  A reception for the Congressional Vision Caucus will be held on March 11, sponsored by Pfizer, Inc. and Transitions Optical, Inc.

For more information on Prevent Blindness America and its advocacy initiatives, please call 1-800-331-2020 or visit preventblindness.org.

About Prevent Blindness America

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness America is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight.  Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness America touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screenings, community and patient service programs and research.  These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public.  Together with a network of affiliates, divisions and chapters, Prevent Blindness America is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America.  For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1 (800) 331-2020 or visit us on the Web at preventblindness.org.