The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP)
Eye disease, a major public health problem in the United States, causes significant suffering, disability, loss of productivity, and diminished quality of life for millions of people. The National Eye Institute (NEI), one of the Federal government’s National Institutes of Health, addresses this public health problem through education programs of biomedical research, disease prevention, and health promotion.
In 1991, NEI established the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) with the aim of increasing awareness among health care professionals and the public of scientifically based health information that can be applied to preserving sight and preventing blindness.
NEHEP works in partnership with a variety of public and private organizations that conduct eye health education programs. It also works with organizations that reach populations at higher risk for eye disease and supports collaboration among eye health professionals, healthcare providers, patients, and the public. To learn more, visit the NEHEP Partnership.
The NEHEP goal is to ensure that vision is a health priority by translating eye and vision research into public and professional education programs. Currently there are five programs:
Diabetic Eye Disease Program
This program is designed to create awareness about diabetic eye disease among people with diabetes, particularly those at higher risk, including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. Through its diabetic eye disease outreach, NEHEP stresses the need for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive dilated eye examinations at least once a year.
This program is designed to create awareness among people at higher risk for glaucoma, those living with the disease, and their families and friends. This program also focuses on increasing awareness among healthcare professionals of the need for regular comprehensive dilated eye examinations for people at higher risk to detect glaucoma in its early stages since it has no early warning signs or symptoms.
Low Vision Program
The Low Vision Program is designed to create awareness among children and adults, their families and friends, and the general public about available low vision rehabilitation services. This program seeks to inform eye healthcare providers who work with children and adults with vision impairments of the potential benefits of low vision rehabilitation services.
¡Ojo con su visión! or Watch out for your vision! Program
This NEHEP program assists professionals in promoting eye health and raising awareness among Spanish-speaking communities. Outreach opportunities, information about the diseases and conditions that Hispanics/Latinos are at higher risk for, as well as Spanish-language resources and materials are included in this program.
Vision & Aging Program
This program focuses on adults aged 50 and older. It provides health professionals with tools and guidance for informing older adults about eye health, age-related eye diseases and conditions, and the importance of comprehensive dilated eye examinations for early detection and treatment to prevent vision loss or blindness.
Through its programs, NEHEP provides a variety of educational resources to support community outreach efforts. These include radio and print public service announcements, teaching tools for health professionals and community health workers, brochures, posters, e-cards and more. NEHEP also has a quarterly e-newsletter, Outlook, which provides updates on NEHEP activities and resources, as well as those of the NEHEP Partnership. To learn more about NEHEP activities and resources or to sign up for Outlook, visit NEHEP.