Newswise — NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), the leading nonprofit driver of research toward cures and treatments for all blinding disorders, is co-sponsoring a major Institute of Medicine (IOM) study entitled “Public Health Approaches to Reduce Vision Impairment and Promote Eye Health.” The report, to be released in 2016, will examine core principles and public health strategies to reduce visual impairment and promote eye health in the United States as part of an effort to combat the dramatically rising rates of eye diseases.

“While RPB’s mission is to promote and fund eye research to prevent blindness and restore sight, we recognize that the treatments and cures resulting from RPB’s support are best applied strategically,” says Brian F. Hofland, PhD, President of Research to Prevent Blindness. “This IOM study complements our efforts, and so the RPB Board of Trustees approved a special grant. We believe that our goals for the common good will be more quickly and more efficiently realized if we act collaboratively with other key stakeholders in the vision health community.”

In addition to Research to Prevent Blindness, current sponsors for the IOM study are The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The National Eye Institute, Prevent Blindness, The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, The American Optometric Association, The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, The American Academy of Optometry, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

“The incidence of eye disorders will continue to surge due to the aging of the baby boomer generation and the diabetes epidemic,” says Hofland. “Huge numbers of people will be personally affected, and the economy will be impacted by medical costs and loss of productivity. As a vision health community, we have to develop the tools to treat these conditions, and also screen for and diagnose these conditions early, so that treatments can be delivered as soon as possible.”

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RPB's mission is to preserve and restore vision by supporting research to develop treatments, preventives and cures for all conditions that damage and destroy sight. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars into eye research, initiated and coordinated the creation of the National Eye Institute and fostered the development of the nation’s leading vision labs and scientists. As a result, RPB has been identified with nearly every major breakthrough in vision research in that time.