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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2014
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

VSOs/MSOs SUPPORT FUNDING FOR VISION TRAUMA RESEARCH IN THE FY2015 INDEPENDENT BUDGET

(Washington, D.C.) The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 issue of the Independent Budget—an annual set of recommendations to Congress regarding Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding which is developed by AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and supported by 53 other Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Service Organizations (MSOs), including NAEVR—has once again called for dedicated funding for vision trauma research at the Department of Defense (DOD).

The 28th annual edition of the Independent Budget recommends that Congress provide $10 million in funding for the DOD’s Peer-Reviewed Vision Trauma Research Program (VTRP) to address combat eye injuries. This recommendation supports NAEVR’s request for this dedicated funding for extramural research into deployment-related eye injuries and immediate battlefield needs. The IB cites NAEVRs Cost of Military Eye Injury and Blindness study, released in 2012, which concluded from published data on eye injuries from combat operations from 2000-2010 that the total projected cost to the economy is $25.1 billion, including the present value of future costs such as VA and Social Security benefits, lost or decreased wages, and additional family care.

“NAEVR deeply appreciates the support of the VSOs and MSOs in its efforts to increase defense vision research funding, especially since we once again face a challenging budget cycle in FY2015,” said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky.

The VTRP was created by Congress in FY2009 Defense appropriations to fund extramural vision research into deployment-related vision trauma which is not conducted by the VA, elsewhere within the DOD-including the joint DOD/VA Vision Center of Excellence (VCE)-or the National Eye Institute (NEI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Since FY2009, the VTRP has funded $50 million in vision research awards to domestic and international researchers to address DOD-identified research gaps into penetrating eye injuries and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-related visual disorders.

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.