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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2014
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S PROPOSED FY2015 BUDGET: NEI FUNDING IS NOT ADEQUATE TO FACE VISION CHALLENGES

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement upon the President’s release of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 proposed budget and the supporting Congressional Justifications for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI). The President requests NIH funding at $30.13 billion, a $200 million or 0.7 percent increase over FY2014, and NEI funding at $675.17 million, a $0.9 million or 0.15 percent increase over its FY2014 operational net. In FY2014, NEI’s appropriation of $682.1 million was reduced by a $6.9 million transfer to the NIH Office of AIDS Research due to dissolution of its Ocular Implications of AIDS clinical trials. NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky said:

“NAEVR appreciates the President’s continued support for biomedical research through the proposed $200 million NIH increase in FY2015. However, the proposed NEI funding is simply inadequate in light of the vision challenges that the NEI faces. Absent the NEI transfer back to the NIH Office of AIDS Research for the dissolved Ocular Implications of AIDS clinical trials, an NEI increase of less than $1 million, or 0.15 percent over its FY2014 operational budget, jeopardizes its leadership in funding research to save sight and restore vision.

The United States faces a major challenge to public health-that from vision loss—especially during this ‘Decade of Vision 2010-2020’ in which the majority of the 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 and be at greatest risk of age-related eye disease. FY2015 NEI funding of $675 million is still less than half-a-percent of the $139 billion annual cost for eye disorders. The U.S. is a world leader in vision research, but without adequate funding the NEI may not be able to fully pursue its primary ‘Audacious Goal’ of regenerating neurons and neural connections in the eye and visual system or maintain its leadership in determining the genetic basis of eye disease. This is unfortunate, as NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. has acknowledged publically the NEI’s long tradition of leadership in the biomedical research arena.

NAEVR has requested FY2015 NIH funding at $32 billion and NEI funding at $730 million. The vision community looks forward to working with Congress in the FY2015 appropriations process to ensure that NEI is adequately funded to meet our nation’s vision health challenges.”

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.