On April 1, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 577, the Vision Care for Kids Act of 2009, with a vote of 404-17. The legislation awards grants to states to provide children with the follow-up care needed after being identified with a potential vision problem by a comprehensive eye exam or vision screening. These children deserve a healthy start to their educational and social development, says Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), lead sponsor of the bill and co-chair of the Congressional Vision Caucus. A similar bill (S.259) in the Senate has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Optometry Giving Sight has pledged to provide about $350,000 to ensure that 100 new optometric technicians and 30 new optometrists will be trained over the next seven years to provide vision services to people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of southern Africa, including Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. To best allocate resources and to help the people who need vision care the most, the optometric technicians will practice in rural clinics, community health centers and district hospitals, while the optometrists will practice in regional and provincial hospitals.

Vol. No: 146:04Issue: 4/15/2009