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Home » About NEI » National Eye Institute Mission Statement

Mission Statement

As part of the federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute's mission is to "conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health problems and requirements of the blind."

Our Accomplishments

The National Eye Institute (NEI) was established by Congress in 1968 to protect and prolong the vision of the American people. NEI research leads to sight-saving treatments, reduces visual impairment and blindness, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. NEI-supported research has advanced our knowledge of how the visual system functions in health and disease.

Vision research is supported by the NEI through approximately 1600 research grants and training awards made to scientists at more than 250 medical centers, hospitals, universities, and other institutions across the country and around the world. The NEI also conducts laboratory and patient-oriented research at its own facilities located on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Because of continued Congressional and public support, the national investment in vision research has yielded substantial dividends to treat many potentially blinding eye diseases and other visual disorders:

Part of the NEI mission is to develop public and professional education programs that help prevent blindness, reduce visual impairment, and increase awareness of services and devices that are available for people with low vision. To meet these objectives, the NEI established the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP), a partnership of over 65 professional, civic, and voluntary organizations and government agencies concerned with eye health. The program represents an extension of the NEI's support of vision research, where results are disseminated to health professionals, patients, and the public. The NEI is also the lead Federal agency for the vision and hearing chapter in Healthy People 2010, the nation's blueprint to improve public health.

The Future

The NEI has done much to promote healthy vision and the future promises to bring even more pioneering advances:

Learn more about future opportunities in vision research

For more information about the National Eye Institute, visit the NEI web site at or write to the NEI at:

National Eye Institute
2020 Vision Place
Bethesda, MD 20892-3655
(301) 496-5248

Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health