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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2005
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

White House Conference on Aging Adopts Resolutions With Significant Implications for the Vision Community



WHCoA Policy Committee Chair and former Commissioner of Social Security, the Honorable Dorcas Hardy, with NAEVR's James Jorkasky
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, the White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) concluded with the adoption of 10 priority resolutions with significant implications for the vision community. The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) joined a united vision community in advocating for resolutions supporting increased funding for vision research conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other components of a Vision Health Platform.

The top 10 priorities include reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, Medicare and Medicaid reform (including a coordinated Long-Term Care benefit and expanded mental health benefits), training of sufficient numbers of healthcare providers in geriatric care, coordination of senior services and expanded transportation options for seniors. Details regarding these resolutions, including implementation strategies, will be in a final report expected to be presented to the President and Congress within the next six months.

"The top ten priorities have potential significant implications for the vision community in terms of access to care, screening programs, aging/vision research and development of assistive/adaptive technologies to facilitate independence," said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, who served as an at-large delegate to the conference. These were the critical issues identified by the vision community in its Vision Health Platform advocated at the conference, which was developed jointly by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Foundation for the Blind, American Optometric Association, Lighthouse International, Prevent Blindness America and NAEVR.

Jorkasky added that the conference was a tremendous opportunity to meet other advocates for aging issues and discuss issues of concern. "I was proud to share the value message of federally funded vision research conducted at the NIH/NEI in strategy sessions on aging research, chronic disease management and safe senior driving."

In conjunction with the WHCoA, NAEVR released a Special Report entitled The 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 federally funded vision research reduce healthcare costs and improve quality of life. Concurrent with the conference, NAEVR's Special Report was delivered to every Congressional office and a NAEVR-sponsored ad highlighting the independence for seniors afforded by treatments emerging from NEI research ran in Roll Call newspaper.

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 PDF files of the Vision Health Platform, NAEVR's Special Report to the WHCoA and NAEVR's Roll Call ad.