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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2013
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

VSOs/MSOs SUPPORT INCREASED FUNDING FOR VISION TRAUMA RESEARCH IN THE INDEPENDENT BUDGET AND IN A LETTER TO CONGRESS

(Washington, D.C.) The Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 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 54 other Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Service Organizations (MSOs)-has once again called for increased funding for vision trauma research at the Department of Defense (DOD).

The 27th 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 Independent Budget also calls on the VA to assess the bed capacity and staffing levels in VA blind rehabilitation centers to ensure that they meet the demands of the new programs being implemented by the VA.

The Independent Budget cites NAEVRs Cost of Military Eye Injury and Blindness study, released last year, which concluded that the total projected cost to the economy resulting from combat operations from 2000 through 2010 is $25.1 billion, including the present value of future costs such as VA and Social Security benefits and lost or decreased wages.

Along with the release of the Independent Budget, the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) has sent a letter to Congressional defense appropriators also requesting FY2014 VTRP funding at $10 million. BVA was joined by signatories Paralyzed Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart USA, Inc., Veterans of Foreign Wars, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, the National Association of Uniformed Services, AMVETS, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, and the Association of the United States Navy.

“NAEVR deeply appreciates the support of the VSOs and MSOs in our efforts to increase defense vision research funding, especially since we face a challenging FY2014 budget cycle,” said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky.

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.