House passes Green’s Vision Care for Kids Act
Washington, DC - The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Vision Care for Kids Act of 2007 (H.R. 507) on Monday night. The bill would create a new grant program aimed at treating dangerous children’s vision problems that can cause blindness if left alone.
“It’s a simple solution to a serious problem,” Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), a founding member of the Congressional Vision Caucus, said. “We target uninsured school-age children at risk for vision disorders, especially those younger than nine. The cost of early treatment is always less than the cost of late treatment, so we would be spending scarce health care dollars in the wisest manner possible.”
Under the Vision Care for Kids Act of 2007, the federal government would provide grants to strengthen state efforts to provide comprehensive eye exams for children who have been identified through vision screenings as having a potential vision disorder. Eye problems such as ambylopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (misaligned eyes) can cause irreversible damage to vision, including blindness, if they’re not detected and treated at an early age.
Green said the legislation is necessary because 80 percent of children who fail a vision screening never get a comprehensive eye exam. He said he is also concerned that 25 percent of parents whose children fail to receive follow up care say they didn’t have the resources to get their kids the help they needed.
Several health care organizations representing pediatric eye and vision health interests endorsed The Vision Care for Kids Act, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Optometric Association, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the Vision Council of America and Prevent Blindness America.