Public Health-Focused Project Focuses on Impact of Vision Impairment

Associate Professor of Optometry Dean VanNasdale, OD, PhD, is leading a group analyzing national surveillance datasets and disseminating state-specific information related to vision impairment and other comorbid conditions. This is an ongoing project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors for the past three years.

The College of Optometry has traditionally been known as a public health-oriented program, with expertise in epidemiology and biostatistics. This project closely aligns with the College’s overarching public health mission.

Research Professor Lisa Jones-Jordan, PhD, has done much of the sophisticated statistical analysis and Kerri McTigue has used her graphic design expertise to jointly develop state-specific infographics with the CDC and NACDD, which are scheduled to be released later this year. The information from this project also will be disseminated to each of the 50 state health departments to help raise awareness about vision impairment and its impact on population health. Throughout this process, the team has been able to develop novel partnerships with state departments that are impacted by vision impairment.

Since the beginning of this project, the team has had the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Ohio Department of Aging, which sees vision health as a critical aspect of its mission. They believe this project is an important step in capacity building, necessary to better understand the underlying determinants and impact of vision impairment as a population health challenge.

All 50 state profiles on “The Impact of Vision Impairment” are available at https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/data/state-profiles/index.htm.