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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2005
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR Releases Special Report on the Impact of NIH/NEI-Funded Aging Eye Research to the  White House Conference on Aging

(Washington, D.C.)  - Today, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) Executive Director James Jorkasky announced the release of a Special Report to the White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) entitled The National Eye Institute (NEI) Responds to the Growing Public Health Problem of Age-related Eye Disease. Through quotes from NEI-funded researchers and data from NEI studies, the report details how treatments emerging from research reduce healthcare costs and improve quality of life.

“NAEVR is pleased to issue this comprehensive discussion of the impact of federally funded vision research on our seniors and our nation, especially in conjunction with such an important event as the WHCoA,” said Jorkasky, who added that the report will be distributed to each Congressional office. In advocating for greater federal funding for eye and vision research conducted at the NEI within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NAEVR has emphasized that vision impairment and eye disease are a major public health problem, growing ever larger due to an aging population. Treatments and therapies emerging from NEI-funded research can stabilize vision loss, restore it or prevent the onset of eye disease.

NEI estimates that more than 50 million Americans are expected to experience blindness, low vision or age-related eye disease by 2020. Currently, 38 million Americans age 40 and older experience these conditions. NEI also estimates that the current annual cost to the United States from vision impairment and eye disease is $68 billion, but this figure does not fully quantify the impact of direct healthcare costs, loss of productivity, reduced independence, diminished quality of life, increased depression and accelerated mortality associated with these conditions.

In conjunction with the vision community, NAEVR will use its report to support WHCoA resolutions that facilitate expanded research into age-related eye diseases; affiliated screening, treatment and prevention programs; access to care; and development of assistive and adaptive technologies that facilitate independence for those with vision impairment, improving their productivity and quality of life.       

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 50 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 www.eyeresearch.org to access a PDF file of the report.