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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2007
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

AEVR HOLDS A CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON VISUAL IMAGING TO SAVE AND RESTORE SIGHT

(Washington, DC) Today, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) announced a Congressional briefing entitled Vision for the Future: Eye Imaging to Save and Restore Sight to be held Tuesday, April 17, 2007, from 12 Noon -1:15 pm in Senate Hart Office Building 902. The featured speaker is Stephen J. Ryan, M.D., President of the Doheny Eye Institute.

Dr. Ryan will describe the new generation of non-invasive imaging technologies, including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), that are enabling practitioners to view key physiological structures within the eye to determine how changes over time may relate to eye disease and vision impairment. These devices produce cross-sectional images that reveal the layers of the retina (the light sensitive back of the eye) and its center portion, called the macula, which is vital for central vision. Changes over time in the retinal layers could indicate the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness—either in the "wet" form of the disease, where blood vessels grow abnormally, hemorrhage, and scar, or the "dry" form, where atrophy and degeneration lead to visual loss. By analyzing the optic nerve head, these devices can assess the early signs of glaucoma. They are also beneficial for the evaluation of cataract patients, pre- and post-operatively.

These images are critical for the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of eye disease, as they provide quantitative measurements of changes in eye structures. If a treatment can be evaluated quantitatively, the greater its likelihood to be adopted into clinical practice. The dynamic environment created by the use of these new visual imaging tools affects the entire spectrum of eye care, including the basic and clinical vision research conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI)/National Institutes of Health (NIH), product approval and coverage decisions for new treatments made by governmental agencies, and the clinical practice decisions made by physicians.

Dr. Ryan is the Grace and Emery Beardsley Professor of Ophthalmology and served as Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California from 1991-2004.

The Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation dedicated to education about the importance of federal funding for eye and vision research. AEVR is pleased to host this widely attended event, with a meal value of less than $50. To attend, call 202-530-4672 or email dina_beaumont@yr.com.

The AEVR Congressional briefing is just one of several vision-related events planned for Washington, DC. On April 18, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) will host the National Vision Symposium—The Impact of Vision Problems in the U.S. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The symposium is intended to raise awareness about the implications of age-related vision issues on the public health of our nation and will coincide with the release of a new vision report entitled The Economic Impact of Vision Problems: The Toll of Major Adult Eye Disorders, Visual Impairment, and Blindness on the U.S. Economy. Details are at: http://www.preventblindness.net/site/
Calendar?view=Detail&id=1341&JServSessionIdr004=8hcgj5nj31.app6a

The evening prior to the symposium, on April 17, PBA will host a Capitol Hill reception from 6:00-8:00 pm in the Rayburn Building Cafeteria for guests and speakers.