Disease, Disorders, Medical Disciplines

National Society to Prevent Blindness

Bringing Americans to Eye Care

aka Prevent Blindness, Prevent Blindness America

Chicago, IL


We prevent blindness and preserve sight across all age spectrums and multiple eye conditions. We focus on improving the nation's vision and eye health by educating the American public on the importance of taking care of their eyes and vision, by promoting advances in public health systems of care that support eye health needs, and by advocating for public policy that emphasizes early detection and access to appropriate eye care.

Ruling Year


President & CEO

Mr. Jeff P Todd

Main Address

225 W Wacker Dr Suite 400

Chicago, IL 60606 USA


blindness, cataracts, eye diseases,glasses,eye disorders,eye safety,diabetic retinapathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration,amblyopia, children's vision, free help





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Eye Diseases, Blindness and Vision Impairments (G41)

Health (General and Financing) (E80)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

We educate the public about eye health and safety and provide positive strategies to maintain healthy vision for themselves and those around them. We advocate for public policy that supports healthy vision for all Americans. We promote early detection as a key to the prevention of vision loss. We support research that encourages improvements in public health systems and develops new treatment regimens. It is our vision that all children are afforded the benefits of sight as they grow and learn, all adults are educated about proper eye health care and have access to that same care, and no one needlessly loses his or her sight due to unsafe practices.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Public Education/Awareness

Health Education & Training

Community Service/Patient Support


Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Provide best practices and technical assistance on creating and implementing comprehensive children’s vision screening and eye health programs (for children from birth through 18 years old).

Population(s) served

People with vision impairments

Related program

Community Service/Patient Support

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context notes

We responded to over 75 requests for technical assistance from agencies and school districts in 21 states and nationally. We assisted with developing evidence-based guidelines for vision screening ...

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Prevent Blindness' ultimate priority is to prevent vision loss across the lifespan, with a focus on ages and populations at highest risk. To address this, we have established five overarching goals and objectives Goal 1:Educate the public and health educators on preschool vision Objective:Increase knowledge and understanding of universal scientifically-based preschool vision screening systems (including data collection, surveillance, and implementation) among public health workers and preschool programs Goal 2:Educate the public and health educators on age-related eye disorders Objectives: Increase public knowledge and understanding of AMD, diabetic eye disease, and glaucoma among those most at risk for these conditions. Increase health educators' knowledge and understanding of AMD, diabetic eye disease and glaucoma Goal 3:Promote awareness of vision loss interventions and prevention practices Objectives : Increase awareness among parents and caretakers about the importance of intervention opportunities to prevent vision loss in children. Increase awareness among parents, caretakers, students, and adults about protecting the eyes from injury and ultraviolet radiations. Increase awareness about the important intervention opportunities to prevent vision loss among adults at high risk for specific age-related eye disorders Goal 4:Advocate for scientifically based preschool vision screening systems nationally Objective: Increase state-level adoption of scientifically-based preschool vision screening systems (including data collection, surveillance, and implementation) Goal 5:Provide select support services for community-based vision screening programs Objectives: Increase quality of vision screenings through certification and professional development. Increase access to vision services by successful coordination of programs that provide free or low-cost follow-up eye care Statement of Need: There are more than 36 million adult Americans currently affected by vision problems that if not detected and treated early, could lead to vision loss. Many of these are the result of sight threatening age-related eye disease, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, the latter of which has seen an alarming 89% rise in prevalence over the past ten years. More than 12 million school aged children, or one in four, need glasses to see the blackboard; and amblyopia, which affects two to three percent of all children, is responsible for more loss of vision in people age 45 and younger than all other eye diseases and trauma combined. If not detected and treated early, these conditions could lead to permanent vision loss. They also clearly affect all aspects of life, negatively impacting a child's ability to learn, athletic performance and self-esteem. According to recent studies, the annual economic burden of age-related vision disorders in the United States is calculated to be approximately $158 billion

Much of our work is focused on enhancing existing systems of care and educating the public on vision and eye health.

Our near-term activities include:

1. Public Health Vision Summit
In June of 2016, we will host its 5th annual “Focus on Eye Health" National Summit to bring focused attention to the growing body of public health research related to vision and eye health.

2. National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health
Through our National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health, we will be continuing our efforts to serve as a coordinator for national collaboration around systemic approaches to children's eye health.

3. Women's Eye Health
In response to the higher prevalence of most major vision disorder among women than among men, we will be establishing outreach efforts to inform women about the importance of their eye health.

4. Low Vision Resource Center
We have an expansive online resource for people with low vision – Living Well with Low Vision (http://lowvision.preventblindness.org). Over the coming year, we will be adding to its content, and marketing the sites availability to get its helpful and informative resources into the hands of more people.

5. Public Awareness
In 2016, we will continue specific public awareness campaigns focused on AMD, Diabetic Eye Disease, Glaucoma, Sports Eye Safety, Children's Eye Health, and potentially other topics.

6. Vision Screening and Training
Prevent Blindness has the only national program that trains and certifies individuals around the country to conduct vision screenings to identify people with potential vision problems, and refer them to appropriate care. In 2016, we expect our screening programs and those of our partners to result in approximately two millions individuals screened with roughly 200,000 being referred for professional eye care; and we will continue our training programs to support this effort.

7. Professional Education/Training
Through our online Training Center, Prevent Blindness provides training and education opportunities for various populations. These Centers house video-based trainings and presentations on diabetic eye disease and glaucoma, as well as a set of modular presentations on a wide variety of eye health topics.

8. Public Policy Advocacy
Since our founding, our work has been deeply rooted in the culture of public policy advocacy. In 2016, our efforts in this arena will support policy that protects and improves access to eye care. We will also advocate for continued support of key federal programs that have a history of bringing attention to and addressing vision problems.

9. School-based Curricula
Prevent Blindness has developed a series of school-based curricula on eye health and safety. The curriculum is aligned with the National Health, Science and Physical Education Standards. In 2016, we will continue to promote the availability of these curricula to educators across the country.

Prevent Blindness is the leading national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight across all life stages. We focus on improving the nation's vision health by educating the public on the importance of taking care of their eyes and their vision, by promoting advances in public health systems that support eye health needs, and by advocating for public policy that emphasizes early detection and access to appropriate eye care. Our recent history has seen the organization evolve into one focused on implementing nationwide systems change to impact vision and eye health. Such efforts include advocating for the establishment and funding of a vision health initiative at the CDC; leading the development of the Congressional Vision Caucus; publishing data on the prevalence of vision problems and the associated costs; establishing a National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health; and convening a national public health summit on vision and eye health. Prevent Blindness has both strong programmatic and fiscal oversight capacity. Over the course of the past 15 years, we have successfully executed numerous competitive federal cooperative agreements with both the CDC and HRSA. Our internal resources include a strong national staff of approximately 26, with a broad range of experiences including public health, government relations, communications, resource development, public relations, board development, strategic planning, field relations, finance, and administration; an active Board of Directors with 27 members representing academia, industry, foundations, public health, and government relations, thousands of volunteers across the country; and an annual operating budget of $10 million. Our websites– www.preventblindness.org, visionproblemsus.org and costofvision.preventblindness.org –and social media outlets currently see more than one million unique visitors annually and serves as our go-to source of information on eye health and safety. Externally, we engage a wide range of partners and stakeholders. To augment the work of our national office, we have a strong network of affiliates and field offices. These offices collaborate in many of our initiatives and also address issues unique to the populations of their own states and regions, through which they often foster new innovations that can be shared across the Prevent Blindness system. Additionally, we partner with federal agencies (including CDC, HRSA, and NEI); vision partner organizations (including AMD Alliance International, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Optometric Association, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, and Lighthouse International); public health organizations (including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors); and industry partners.

Prevent Blindness has a strategic plan that outlines the goals and objectives of the organization, and an online program database and reporting structure that helps us track our impact on these across our system. Currently, the following items are included in this process:

1. Information and Referral
This includes responses to calls, letters, or emails for information on specific eye health or safety topics, financial assistance information, or information related to finding health care professionals or services. It further includes distribution of materials at public exhibits, health fairs, conventions, expos, or any event where Prevent Blindness information and educational materials are distributed.

2. Media
This includes total print, online and broadcast placements/impressions of public service announcements, news articles, etc.

3. Website and Social Networking
This is an analysis of website traffic, as well as social media followers (primarily Facebook and Twitter).

4. Public Education
This is an accounting of individuals who participate in Prevent Blindness education programs/seminars; or access our various curriculum materials.

5. Professional Education and Training
This includes any individuals who attend Prevent Blindness seminars or workshops to enhance their skills or knowledge in planning, implementing and/or integrating vision health and safety programs, or individuals who are trained to conduct or present specific Prevent Blindness programs. Any type of formal training session or seminar that will enhance that individual's knowledge of eye health and safety issues in order to educate others would fall into this category. Finally, individuals who are certified as Prevent Blindness vision screeners or trainers are included here.

6. Patient Services
Individuals who receive a professional service or product such as an eye examination, surgical treatment, pharmaceuticals, protective eyewear, prescription eyewear, low vision aids, etc. through any Prevent Blindness program are accounted for here. It includes individuals who participate in Prevent Blindness sponsored patient support group.

7. Screening and Detection
This is an accounting of individuals screened in programs that follow Prevent Blindness guidelines, include referral and follow-up, and for which screening numbers are tracked. It includes numbers of referred individuals that received follow-up care, whenever possible.

8. Volunteers
Here we track the number of volunteers used for direct service programs such as preschool or adult vision screeners. We also account for those volunteers who serve on our Board of Directors, Committees, or assist at special events, conference exhibits, office assistants, etc.

Additionally, we are in the process of developing an organizational logic model with program specific indicators and outcomes for each of the ten strategies listed previously in the near-term activities that support our strategic plan.

Our recent accomplishments include: 1. Completed three papers to serve as guides for public health systems to address preschool vision problems; one on vision screening implementation guidelines, a second on state-based data systems, and a third on establishment of performance measures. 2. Developing, and making available, training courses on glaucoma and diabetic eye disease aimed at equipping allied health professionals (pharmacists, community health workers, diabetes educators, etc.) with information to use when talking with their clients who are at high-risk for (or already have) these conditions. 3. Screening approximately 2.2 million individuals for potential vision problems, referring roughly 10% of these on for follow-up comprehensive eye examinations, and providing financial assistance resources for this care to thousands of those in need. 4. Hosting the annual national summit – “Focus on Eye Health" – to advance the dialogue around the country's eye health. The event continues to receive overwhelmingly positive remarks, both at the events and through formal evaluation. 5. Launched Living Well with Low Vision (http://lowvision.preventblindness.org), an online resource aimed at supporting a high quality of life for those with vision challenges. 6. Launching the Center for Vision and Population Health, a coordinating body which will collaborate with community, state, and national stakeholders. It will support state-level programs by delivering technical support and evidence-based interventions. While the Center's activities will draw guidance from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's report on vision and eye health, it will also be responsive to emerging topics to sustain a population health approach to vision and eye health. In an effort to reach our ultimate intended impact – preventing vision loss across the lifespan, with a focus on ages and populations at highest risk - in recent years, Prevent Blindness has realigned our focus to have a broader impact on existing public health systems by equipping them to address vision and eye health, a topic that is often overlooked, particularly in light of its high prevalence and cost. We are doing this while continuing to develop educational programs, increase public awareness, and advocate for improved policies to address vision and eye health concerns. The accomplishments listed above are just a few examples of this. While we feel we have accomplished a great deal, much work remains to be done. We are particularly focused on the area of our work that will inform and enhance public health systems across all 50 states, and that will increase the distribution of our eye health messages.

External Reviews



National Society to Prevent Blindness

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?