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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR THANKS CONGRESS FOR MAINTAINING THE VISION LINE ITEM IN FY2010 DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS BUT EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT ITS FUNDING LEVEL

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) expressed its gratitude to Congress for maintaining the dedicated Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision line in the conference Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Defense appropriations bill finalized by the Senate on December 19. However, NAEVR also expressed concern about the FY2010 funding level of $3.75 million, which reflects a cut from the House billís funding level of $5 million and the FY2009 funding level of $4 million.

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky issued the following statement:

"NAEVR expresses its appreciation to Congress for maintaining the dedicated Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision (PRMR-Vision) line in the recently passed conference FY2010 Defense appropriations bill. We especially wish to thank our bipartisan House champions Cong. James Moran (D-VA), Cong. Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Bill Young (R-FL) for their leadership, especially in championing a funding level of $5 million in the House bill.

We are disappointed that the final FY2010 funding level of $3.75 million reflects a decrease from the FY2009 level of $4 million. While we understand that funding for many defense health programs was cut in the conference bill due to the challenging fiscal environment, defense-related vision research warrants a rigorous investment. In June 2008, Defense Secretary Robert Gates requested that Congress provide research investments that advance state of the art solutions and world class care with an emphasis on Restoration of Sight and Eyecare, along with three other priority areas [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Prosthetics]. We also understand that the incidence of penetrating eye injuries is on the rise due to the expanded troop presence in Afghanistan, and that enhanced diagnostics are determining that visual dysfunction occurs in 85 percent of soldiers who experience TBI.

As a result, NAEVR will work with its Veteran Service Organization (VSO) colleagues and Congressional champions to request an FY2011 PRMR-Vision funding level of at least $10 million."

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.