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April 7, 2011
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director


(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) submitted written testimony to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives supporting Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding at $35 billion. This level, which reflects net NIH funding in FY2009 and FY2010 due to increased ďregularĒ and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) appropriations, is $3 billion more than the $31.7 billion funding level proposed by President Obama. NAEVR stated that $35 billion is necessary to maintain the momentum of research and to retain trained personnel.

NAEVR noted that NIH funding of $35 billion would translate into National Eye Institute (NEI) funding of $794.5 million. NAEVR urged that, if Congress cannot fund NIH/NEI at those levels, it at least improve upon the Presidentís proposed 1.8 percent increase in NEI funding such that it matches the 2.4 percent inflation rate, thereby avoiding further erosion in purchasing power which had already declined by 18 percent in the FY2003-2008 timeframe. NAEVR cited NEIís leadership in translational research, including:

Genetic Basis of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD): In 2010, NEI initiated the International AMD Genetics Consortium, reflecting researchers from five continents who will share and analyze Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) results to further elucidate the genetic basis of AMD. This may lead to new diagnostics and treatments for this leading blinding eye disease, growing in incidence with the aging of the population.

Treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema: In May 2010, the NEIís Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research (DRCR) Network-a multi-center network dedicated to facilitating clinical research into diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and associated conditions-reported results of a comparative effectiveness trial. The study confirmed that laser treatment for diabetic macular edema, when combined with injections of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved anti-angiogenic drug Lucentis, is more effective than laser treatment alone, the latter of which has been the standard of care for the past 25 years.

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