Healthy Eyes Healthy People® Grants awarded
Optometry Cares®-The AOA Foundation, through a generous grant from Luxottica, has announced that 16 Healthy Eyes Healthy People® (HEHP) State Association Grants have been awarded for 2014. These grants provide funding for activities that address the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthy People® objectives while simultaneously encouraging a more comprehensive approach to the vision and eye health care needs of America's infants, children, adolescents, adults and seniors.
"The projects have such a positive impact on the people that they serve."
The overall goal of HEHP is for optometrists to change community health programs so that vision services are provided and optometrists are recognized as vital to the health care system.
James L. Boccuzzi, O.D., Chair of the HEHP Grants Committee, explains that while past grants addressed the broader role of eye health in disease identification and management, this year's HEHP grants focus specifically on increasing the proportion of children 18 years of age and younger who receive an eye exam by an optometrist over the next 12 months.
For the past several years, AOA has been promoting comprehensive exams rather than screenings for children because of the value of having a child have a complete eye exam at an early age. Dr. Boccuzzi adds, "Poor vision is linked to poor performance in school, which has lifelong consequences.
Between 2004 and 2013, 367 grants totaling $1,341,035 were awarded to state optometric associations and made possible by the ophthalmic industry supporters Vision Service Plan (VSP) from 2004 to 2009 and Luxottica Group from 2004 to 2014.
Dr. Boccuzzi was gratified by this year's widespread participation, saying, "It's rewarding to see so many submissions because the projects have such a positive impact on the people that they serve. There were a lot of great applications with good ideas this year."