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AEVR Celebrates its Message about the Value of Vision Research
on Capitol Hill

Left to right: NEI Director Paul Sieving, M.D. Ph.D., Paul D’Addario, and Cong. Jim Moran (D-VA). Mr. D’Addario, a Moran constituent, can now identify objects after years of blindness due to the Argus II Retinal Prothesis System, the development of which was funded in part by NEI.Left to right: NEI Director Paul Sieving, M.D. Ph.D., Paul D’Addario, and Cong. Jim Moran (D-VA). Mr. D’Addario, a Moran constituent, can now identify objects after years of blindness due to the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, the development of which was funded in part by NEI.
On February 25, AEVR concluded the year-long celebration of its 20th anniversary as “The Friends of the National Eye Institute (NEI)” with a Capitol Hill reception that focused on AEVR’s message about the value of federally funded vision research. Hosted by AEVR President Peter McDonnell, M.D. (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins), the event featured a welcome by Cong. Gene Green (D-VA), co-Chair of the Congressional Vision Caucus, a Hill perspective on the importance of funding vision research at the NEI and within the Department of Defense (DOD) that was presented by Cong. Jim Moran (D-VA), and highlights of NEI breakthrough research and concomitant value for patients presented by its Director Paul Sieving, M.D., Ph.D. Other Members of Congress attending included Cong. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Cong. Richard Nolan.

Cong. Moran spoke about the importance of vision research funding at the NEI and DOD, which he has championed as a Congressional appropriator. He is flanked by a poster of the front page of AEVR’s 20th  anniversary brochure The Value of Federally Funded Vision Research-NEI.Cong. Moran spoke about the importance of vision research funding at the NEI and DOD, which he has championed as a Congressional appropriator. He is flanked by a poster of the front page of AEVR’s 20th anniversary brochure The Value of Federally Funded Vision Research-NEI.
Since the reception was held just before the American Glaucoma Society’s (AGS) Annual Meeting, several AGS members attended and spoke with Congressional staff about their research and clinical practice in glaucoma, which included AGS President Kuldev Singh, M.D. (Byers Eye Institute/Stanford University). He was joined by Janey Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary), who was a featured speaker at the next day’s World Glaucoma Week Congressional Briefing, hosted by AEVR, AGS, and several other organizations.

Throughout the room, AEVR displayed poster-sized pages from its 20th anniversary brochure The Value of Federally Funded Vision Research-NEIwhich was released in October 2013 and delivered to all Congressional offices. Paul D’Addario, an Arlington, Virginia resident and constituent of Cong. Moran who is featured in the brochure, spoke with attendees about his implanted Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, which enables him to identify objects after years of blindness. This Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved device, manufactured by Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., was the result of a collaboration between the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories and its Artificial Retina Program and the NEI.

Dr. McDonnell acknowledged the three founding member organizations of AEVR and their attending representatives, which included Roy Chuck, M.D., Ph.D. (Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University), representing the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), Cathy Cohen of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and Matt Windsor of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Earlier that day and under the auspices of NAEVR, Dr. Chuck visited offices of the New York delegation to advocate for increased NEI funding.

Commenting on the event, AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky said, “It has been a great year of recognition of AEVR’s past accomplishments. More importantly, it has been an opportunity to look to the future as AEVR’s Decade of Vision 2010-2020 Initiative continues its sustained efforts to educate about how federally funded vision research is saving sight and restoring vision, thereby increasing productivity, maintaining independence, and improving the quality of life.”

AEVR wishes to thank the Departments of Ophthalmology and Colleges of Optometry which provided funding for the reception.

Congressional Vision Caucus co-Chair Cong. Gene Green (D-TX), who provided a welcome, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee with oversight jurisdiction for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)Congressional Vision Caucus co-Chair Cong. Gene Green (D-TX), who provided a welcome, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee with oversight jurisdiction for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AEVR President Peter McDonnell, M.D. (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins, right) with American Glaucoma Society (AGS) President Kuldev Singh, M.D. (Byers Eye Institute/Stanford University) and AGS member Janey Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School/Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary), who  spoke the next day at AEVR’s World Glaucoma Week Congressional BriefingAEVR President Peter McDonnell, M.D. (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins, right) with American Glaucoma Society (AGS) President Kuldev Singh, M.D. (Byers Eye Institute/Stanford University) and AGS member Janey Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School/Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary), who spoke the next day at AEVR’s World Glaucoma Week Congressional Briefing
AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky (right) greets Cong. Richard Nolan (D-MN)AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky (right) greets Cong. Richard Nolan (D-MN) Left to right: AEVR’s David Epstein greets Cong. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Kirk Bell of his staffLeft to right: AEVR’s David Epstein greets Cong. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Kirk Bell of his staff
Left to right: Michael Duenas, O.D. (American Optometric Association), Lester Marks (Lighthouse Guild), Roy Chuck, M.D., Ph.D. (Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University) and Mark Ackermann (Lighthouse Guild)Left to right: Michael Duenas, O.D. (American Optometric Association), Lester Marks (Lighthouse Guild), Roy Chuck, M.D., Ph.D. (Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University) and Mark Ackermann (Lighthouse Guild) Earlier that day, Dr. Chuck met with Veronica Duron in the office of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NYEarlier that day, Dr. Chuck met with Veronica Duron in the office of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Left to right: AGS members Edward Sung, M.D. (University of Illinois at Chicago and Wheaton Eye Clinic) and John Fingert, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Iowa) visited Congressional offices the next day during the AGS Advocacy DayLeft to right: AGS members Edward Sung, M.D. (University of Illinois at Chicago and Wheaton Eye Clinic) and John Fingert, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Iowa) visited Congressional offices the next day during the AGS Advocacy Day Left to right: AEVR members attending included Jennifer DeMatteo (Eye Bank Association of America), Lester Marks (Lighthouse Guild) and Shannon Curtis and Rebecca Hyder of AEVR founding member the American Academy of OphthalmologyLeft to right: AEVR members attending included Jennifer DeMatteo (Eye Bank Association of America), Lester Marks (Lighthouse Guild) and Shannon Curtis and Rebecca Hyder of AEVR founding member the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Dr. McDonnell and Matt Windsor of AEVR founding member Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)Dr. McDonnell and Matt Windsor of AEVR founding member Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Michael Buckley (BrightFocus Foundation) and James JorkaskyMichael Buckley (BrightFocus Foundation) and James Jorkasky