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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2010
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

AEVR’s DECADE OF VISION 2010-2020 AND THE FOUNDATION FIGHTING BLINDNESS HOST A CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON THE ARTIFICIAL RETINA ON EVE OF HEALTHY VISION MONTH

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) announced that its Decade of Vision 2010-2020 Initiative will join the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) in hosting a Congressional Briefing entitled The Bionic Eye: An Artificial Retina That Brings Sight to the Blind on Thursday, April 29, 2010, from 12 Noon -1:15 pm in Room B-339 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The briefing contact is Dina Beaumont at 202-530-4672 or dinabeau@aol.com to RSVP.

The briefing, held on the eve of Healthy Vision Month (May 2010), features Mark Humayun, M.D., Ph.D., a Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering at the Doheny Eye Institute of the University of Southern California (USC). As the lead investigator on Artificial Retina research, Dr. Humayun will report on how the microelectronic implant, the second generation of which has 60 stimulating electrodes, has enabled blind patients to find, count, and recognize objects. The Artificial Retina Consortium continues its work toward a goal of a 1,000 stimulating electrode implant which could exponentially increase the number of patients helped by the device.

This research, which represents the confluence of the biomedical and physical sciences, engages a unique partnership of federal and private funding sources that involve researchers from national government laboratories, universities, and industry. Federal funding is provided primarily by the Department of Energy (DOE), due to the need for sophisticated engineering techniques, as well as by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Private funding has been provided by the industry partner, Second Sight Medical Products of Sylmar, California, as well as by non-profit private foundations, such as FFB.

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. In 2009, Congress passed H. Res 366 and S. Res. 209, which recognized the 40th anniversary of the National Eye Institute (NEI) and designated 2010-2020 as the decade of vision, acknowledging AEVR’s efforts to provide sustained education about the impact of eye disease and vision impairment through its Decade of Vision 2010-2020 Initiative. Visit its Web site at www.eyeresearch.org

The Foundation Fighting Blindness, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation dedicated to research that will provide preventions, treatments, and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa (RP), macular degeneration, Usher Syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. Visit its Web site at www.FightBlindness.org