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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORT NAEVR REQUEST FOR $10 MILLION IN FY2010 DEFENSE-RELATED VISION RESEARCH FUNDING

(Washington, D.C.) In a February 24 letter, eight Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) urged leadership of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to maintain the dedicated Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision budget line item and to increase its funding to $10 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Department of Defense (DOD) appropriations. This letter, addressed to Chairman John Murtha (D-PA) and Ranking Member Bill Young (R-FL), supports the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research’s (NAEVR) FY2010 DOD funding request. The signatories include Blinded Veterans Association (BVA, a NAEVR member), Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA, Inc., Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc.

"Battlefield conditions have resulted in 13 percent of all those wounded being evaluated to have eye injuries, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) vision dysfunction due to blast forces occur in 64 percent of those screened," stated the letter, which added that the signatories strongly recommend that existing initiatives to help military personnel and all veterans diagnosed with either combat eye trauma or TBI with visual dysfunction be complemented by a dedicated Peer Reviewed Medical research-Vision program.

From FY2006-2008, vision was one of 21 areas of research that could compete for awards within the $50 million pool of Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) funding. In FY2009 defense appropriations, Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision was made a separate line item and funded at $4 million. For FY2010 defense appropriations, NAEVR has requested that the dedicated line item be funded at $10 million, especially since vision researchers received $6.3 million in FY2006 funding and an initial FY2008 DOD announcement funds about $8-10 million in vision research (estimate prior to final negotiated amount).

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.