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August 30, 2005
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director

NAEVR'S James Jorkasky Named an At-Large Delegate to 2005 White House Conference on Aging

(Washington, DC) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) announced that Executive Director James F. Jorkasky has been selected as an at-large delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), to be held December 11-14, 2005, in Washington, DC.

"I am honored to represent the eye and vision research community, and the promise it holds for the future vision health of our seniors, at this prestigious event," said Jorkasky. "Federally funded research sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is resulting in new treatments and therapies to not only stabilize vision loss but to restore it, or ultimately prevent the onset of eye disease. Jorkasky cited as an example recent NEI-sponsored research on the genetic basis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, which can now lead to potential therapies and prevention.

"This research is important, as vision impairment and eye disease is a major public health problem growing ever larger primarily due to an aging population, said Jorkasky, who added that "the National Eye Institute (NEI) reports that more than 38 million Americans age 40 and older experience blindness, low vision or an age-related eye disease, representing a significant portion of the $68 billion annual economic and societal cost to the United States for such vision disorders." He cautioned that this number does not fully quantify the lost productivity, diminished quality of life, increased depression and accelerated mortality which seniors may experience.

The 2005 WHCoA will host 1200 delegates who will vote on resolutions and develop implementation strategies to be presented to the President and Congress to help guide national aging policies for the next decade and beyond. The 2005 WHCoA, the fifth in history and the first of the 21st century, is mandated by the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000 to focus on the aging of today and tomorrow, including 78 million baby boomers who will begin to turn 60 in 2006.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 44 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVR's goal is to achieve the best vision for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI), and other federal research entities. Visit NAEVR's Web site at