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July 28, 1962

IV. An Unmet Community Health Need

Author Affiliations

New York City

Executive Director, National Society for the Prevention of Blindness.

JAMA. 1962;181(4):327. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050300047012

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LET US TURN from general considerations of j community health to a specific unmet community public health need—a community problem that has been skirted, consigned to the already too-busy eye specialist, or given a public health lick and a promise for too many years.

There are many agencies dealing with care and welfare of the blind, most of them doing excellent and much-needed work. But with rare exceptions, none are geared to prevention of blindness. Most remain essentially social-welfare groups oriented to the problems of the blind.

Public health departments are medically oriented units, and prevention and restoration are essentially medical problems rather than responsibilities of social welfare agencies.

Visual disorders cost America a staggering $4.5 billion in care and loss of national productivity every year. That's more than 10 times what it cost to put an astronaut into orbit around the world. I'd like to discuss the 4 most

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