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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2008
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR REQUESTS THAT EYE AND VISION RESEARCH REMAIN ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING WITHIN THE FY2009 DOD PEER REVIEWED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAM

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) requested that "eye and vision research" remain eligible for funding within the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Department of Defense (DOD) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). NAEVR released its request during an advocacy day it held for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), a NAEVR founding member. The twenty participating ARVO members sought support generally in all 50 Capitol Hill offices visited, while NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky joined participants in key districts and states to ask their Members of the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to serve as "champions."

"The combat-related eye injuries being incurred in Iraq and Afghanistan are of an unprecedented, devastating nature," said Jorkasky, citing DOD statistics as well as a series of front-page articles from USA Today that have chronicled the challenges faced by newly sight-impaired soldiers. DOD reports that 16 percent of wartime injuries affect the eye—with optic nerve trauma the most grave—and that visual disorders occur in 80 percent of the cases associated with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), such as double vision, light sensitivity, and inability to read print. "These injuries have both acute and chronic implications for an individualís vision health and productivity through the remainder of their military service and into their civilian lives."

Eye and vision research has been listed in FY2006-FY2008 for this program, which enables researchers in eligible areas to compete for a pool of $50 million of peer-reviewed funding. In FY2006, its first year of eligibility, the vision community submitted 52 grant requests to the DOD, or 8 percent of all submissions, and was awarded 7 grants out of the 51 issued, for a funding total of $6.3 million, or 12 percent. Examples of this research include: corneal healing, as well as ways to improve corneal transplantation by regulating the lymphatic pathway servicing the cornea; corneal wound infection control; laser injuries; and support for ongoing work on a "Retinal ImplantĒ to restore vision through electronic stimulation of the retina. Although vision research was listed in FY2007, the PRMRP was not funded in the FY2007 Joint Funding Resolution. Currently, vision community researchers are eagerly awaiting the DODís program announcement requesting FY2008 grant submissions, which will be posted on the PRMRP site at: http://cdmrp.army.mil/pubs/press/2008/08prmrppreann.htm

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVRís 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 NAEVRís Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.