Appropriations Bill ‘Encourages’ CDC to Increase Emphasis on Eye Safety and Vision Health

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—In late August, the U.S. Senate passed an appropriations bill that, among other actions, calls for increased vigilance for eye health and safety. The House had previously approved the legislation, H.R. 6157, which is the third fiscal 2019 minibus appropriations bill approved by the Senate. The bill calls for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine eye health research findings to increase patients’ vision safety and to update its reports on the burdens of keratitis—inflammation of clear tissue on the front of the cornea—and contact lens-related infections, according to the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety. The Alliance, in a recent statement, acknowledged the efforts of Congress in passing the bill and the legislation’s corresponding support of eye and vision safety.

“Our members and patient safety advocates are eager to continue working with lawmakers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and relevant agencies to ensure that patients have access to proper data to make informed decisions regarding their vision health,” Alliance chairwoman Deanna Alexander, OD, said in the statement.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 85-7. In June, the House passed the bill in a 359-49 vote.

According to the Alliance, the bill states, in part, that the “CDC is encouraged to apply previous CDC vision and eye health research findings to develop effective prevention and early detection interventions, and to incorporate vision and eye health promotion activities into existing state and national public health chronic disease initiatives, with an initial focus on early detection of diabetic retinopathy. In addition, the Committee encourages CDC to update its reports on the estimated burden of keratitis and contact lens-related infections.”

The Alliance was founded in 2018 to advocate for patient safety and to protect and defend the doctor-patient relationship.