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CDC Develops Nation’s First Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System

By CLICK Staff
Wednesday, August 8, 2018 2:50 PM
ATLANTA, Ga.—The Centers for Disease Control (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 eyecare services in the U.S. 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.

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
Several parts of the site allow users to customize and compare data on a range of vision care diseases, issues, health care access and more in a dynamic way.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a cooperative agreement to NORC at the University of Chicago to lead the development of the Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS). NORC is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge. Among these partners are the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Optometric Association, Prevent Blindness, Uniformed Services University, University of Wisconsin and VSP Global.


According to the CDC, an estimated 61 million adults in the U.S. 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 percent of visual impairment and blindness in the U.S.
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