Dr. Jane Gwiazda, Director of Research and Professor at New England College of Optometry, recently participated in a Congressional Briefing in Washington DC. The group briefed Congressional staffers on the topic of the Burden of Uncorrected Errors in Vision.
The event took place on World Sight Day 2015, October 8, 2015. In addition to Dr. Gwiazda, the panel discussion included Kevin Frick, PhD from Johns Hopkins Cary Business School and Cheri Wiggs, PhD from the National Eye Institute. Sandra Block, OD, Med, MPH, USA Chair of Vision 2020, moderated the discussion. In their press release, NAEVR, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, explained, “In her introductory remarks, Dr. Block noted that 80 percent of vision impairment is avoidable, with cataract and uncorrected refractive errors (UREs) the leading causes of avoidable visual impairment and cataracts and glaucoma the leading causes of avoidable blindness.”
A highly regarded expert in the field of myopia, Dr. Gwiazda discussed the increasing prevalence of myopia and the potential impact that spending time outdoors can have on myopia prevention. Drs. Wiggs and Frick noted the various types of NEI-funded research surrounding refractive errors and the impact of the COMET study. Dr. Gwiazda helped to establish the Myopia Research Center at the College and the Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial (COMET). COMET, the first NEI/NIH-sponsored clinical trial in optometry, was conducted at NECO, University of Alabama School of Optometry, University of Houston College of Optometry, Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, and Stony Brook Department of Preventive Medicine.
The event was attended by Congressional staff, sponsoring organizations, and members of AEVR's group of 21 Emerging Vision Scientist. “I enjoyed participating in the Congressional briefing on uncorrected refractive errors as part of World Sight Day. The audience was interested in the topic and had good questions after our presentations,” said Dr. Gwiazda.
Photos courtesy of NAEVR.