Prevent Blindness Holds 7th Annual Focus on Eye Health Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Prevent Blindness hosted the 7th annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit on Wednesday, July 18, at the National Press Club here. The Summit honored the 50th Anniversary of the National Eye Institute as well as included presentations related to the theme, “Research to Impact.” PDF copies of all the presentations as well as a link to the webcast are now available at

Attendees of this event included patient advocates, community-based organizations, national vision and eye health organizations, government agencies, and policymakers.

Kicking off the Summit was a keynote presentation by Lily Peng of Google AI Healthcare, titled “A Glimpse Into the Future: Artificial Intelligence & Eye Care.” Other program highlights included sessions on Improving Access through Telemedicine, Innovative Screening Models and Their Impact on Global Eye Health, Promising Practices Emerging from NEI Partnerships; Advancing Eye Health in Native American Communities and Vision’s Impact on Learning in Children.

Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness said, “The Focus on Eye Health National Summit continues to be a key venue for all of those committed to improving eye health systems, including standardizing approaches and addressing issues such as access to quality vision care, and much more. We hope all of our participants will take what was shared at our event and use this information to collaborate and further advance sight-saving programs.”

Sponsors of the Focus on Eye Health National Summit included gold-level sponsors Allergan, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, The EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, Genentech, International Retinal Research Foundation, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Lighthouse Guild, National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness, NORC at the University of Chicago, Regeneron, Shire and Vision Impact Institute.

Silver sponsors were Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association, BrightFocus Foundation, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Lions Club International, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Seva Foundation, Thrombogenics and Vision 2020 USA.

As part of the Summit, the 2018 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health was presented to the Johns Hopkins University School-Based Eye Care Team. The team was selected for the award for their work investigating and addressing vision-related problems in high-poverty schools. The award is presented annually to an individual, team, or organization that has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health at the community, state, national, and/or international level.

Megan E. Collins, MD, MPH, (l) accepts the 2018 Prevent Blindness Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health on behalf of the Johns Hopkins University School-Based Eye Care Team, from Kathleen Murphy, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, University of Texas Medical Branch and chair of the Prevent Blindness Public Health and Policy Committee.

Michael Steinmetz, PhD, National Eye Institute (c) accepts the Prevent Blindness 50th Anniversary Recognition Award to the National Eye Institute. The award was presented by Peter McDonnell, MD, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research board president (l) and Prevent Blindness board of directors chair Torrey DeKeyser (r).

Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, presents Rep. Gene Green, co-chair, Congressional Vision Caucus, with a special award from Prevent Blindness for his continued commitment and dedication to advancing vision and eye health issues.

Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, Georgetown University and chair of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness, moderates the panel, “Vision’s Impact on Learning in Children.” Participants included Gayathri Srinivasan, MS, OD, New England College of Optometry; Marjean Taylor Kulp, OD, MS, Ohio State University College of Optometry; and Mae Millicent Winfrey Peterseim, MD, Medical University of South Carolina.