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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2014
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR THANKS CONGRESS FOR MODEST NIH/NEI FUNDING INCREASES, VISION TRAUMA FUNDING IN FY2015 “CROMNIBUS” FUNDING BILL

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement upon passage of the Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act of 2015, which was passed by the House on December 11 and the Senate December 13 and sent to the President to sign into law. The bill funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 at $30.08 billion, a $149.7 billion or 0.5 percent increase over the FY2014 budget, and the National Eye Institute (NEI) at $684.2 million, a $2.1 million or 0.31 percent increase. The bill also funds the Vision Trauma Research Program (VTRP) budget line in Defense appropriations at $10 million, the third year at this level.

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky said:

“We thank Congress for finalizing an FY2015 appropriations bill that includes a modest increase for the NIH and NEI, as well as funding for vision trauma research. Although NAEVR realizes the enormity of the fiscal challenges that Congress faces and the various competing funding concerns that is has to balance, the NIH/NEI funding still does not allow for growth or balance biomedical inflation. FY2015 NEI funding, in particular, is still $18 million down from the pre-sequester FY2012 funding level of $702.1 million.
The United States faces a major challenge to public health-that from vision loss—especially during this “Decade of Vision 2010-2020” in which the majority of the 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 and be at greatest risk of age-related eye disease. FY2015 NEI funding of $684 M is still less than half-a-percent of the $145 billion annual cost to the U.S. for eye disorders. The U.S. is a world leader in vision research, but without adequate funding the NEI may not be able to pursue its “audacious goals” to save sight and restore vision. Our nation’s investment in vision health is an investment in overall health that can increase productivity, preserve independence, and improve the quality of life.

The vision community looks forward to working with Congress in the FY2016 appropriations process to ensure that NEI is adequately funded to meet our nation’s vision health challenges.”

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.