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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2007
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR REQUESTS THAT EYE AND VISION RESEARCH REMAIN ELIGIBLE FOR FY2008 DOD FUNDING

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) released its justification to Capitol Hill requesting that eye and vision research remain eligible for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 funding through the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). Defense-related vision research was first made eligible for this pool of $50 million of peer-reviewed funding in FY2006.

"In its first year of eligibility for PRMRP funding, the vision community submitted 52 of the 651 total grant requests, or eight percent, and received seven grants out of 51 awarded, or ten percent, for a funding total of $6.3 million. This reflects both the applicability and importance of defense-related vision research," stated NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, who noted that 16 percent of all Iraq war injuries affect the eye, with optic nerve trauma the most severe. He added that vision researchers received FY2006 awards to treat corneal healing, to improve corneal transplantation by studying the regulation of the lymphatic pathway servicing the cornea (which can elucidate wound healing, in general), and to support the ongoing work on a "Retinal Implant" to restore vision through electronic stimulation of the retina.

NAEVR’s justification lists three major areas of defense-related vision research:

  • Acute and chronic implications of corneal and retinal eye trauma, healing, infection/inflammation control, and associated vision rehabilitation;
  • Metabolic and physiological processes that relate to visual clarity, contrast sensitivity, and spatial orientation; and
  • Characterization of visual disparities based upon gender, race, or age and determination of the underlying physiological basis to develop treatments and therapies.

The FY2007 PRMRP program was not funded in the full-year FY2007 Joint Funding Resolution passed by Congress on February 14, 2007, primarily due to jurisdictional issues in the 109th Congress where it was subject to review under the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. In the 110th Congress and the FY2008 funding cycle, all defense health-related funding will fall under the jurisdiction of the respective Senate and House Defense Appropriations Subcommittees.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 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.