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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2010
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

VSO INDEPENDENT BUDGET ECHOES NAEVR’s REQUEST URGING CONGRESS TO FUND EXTRAMURAL PEER-REVIEWED VISION RESEARCH AT $10 MILLION IN FY2011 DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) announced that The Independent Budget, an annual set of recommendations to Congress regarding Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding, has made recommendations regarding Special Needs Veterans, specifically Blinded Veterans, for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 funding process. The Independent Budget—developed by AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and supported by 54 other organizations-recommended that Congress maintain the separate defense appropriations line item for extramural Peer Reviewed Medical Research—Vision (PRMR-Vision) and fund it at $10 million, in line with NAEVR’s position, released on January 29.

Additionally, six VSOs signed onto a joint letter to Congressional leaders urging support for PRMR-Vision funded at $10 million in FY2011, including: NAEVR member Blinded Veterans Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA, Inc., Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. The American Legion also distributed its own letter of support.

"NAEVR began soliciting Capitol Hill champions back in December 2009," said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky. "Past extramural PRMR-Vision funding at $4 million in FY2009 and $3.75 million in FY2010 is insufficient to address the necessary research into the devastating eye injuries being experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a dedicated funding source for extramural vision research into immediate battlefield needs which is not conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the National Eye Institute (NEI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It warrants a continued, rigorous investment, especially since Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has identified research into Restoration of Sight and Eye-Care as one of the four top priorities for defense funding, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Prosthetics."

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.