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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

HOUSE PASSES H. RES. 366 RECOGNIZING THE NEI’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY AND DESIGNATING 2010-2020 AS THE DECADE OF VISION

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a vote of 411-0 H. Res. 366, which recognizes the 40th anniversary of the National Eye Institute (NEI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and supports designation of 2010-2020 as the Decade of Vision. During House floor debate, lead sponsor Cong. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and original co-sponsor Cong. Pete Sessions praised the accomplishments of the NEI in saving and restoring vision. Cong. Gene Green, co-chair of the Congressional Vision Caucus, echoed that support, noting that the country’s vision health challenges will increase significantly in the next decade due to the aging of the population and the disproportionate increase of eye disease in fast-growing minority populations. In total, there were 114 co-sponsors for the bill. Cong. Baldwin and Cong. Sessions each issued press releases acknowledging the successful passage.

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky has issued the following statement:

"Since it serves as the ‘Friends of the National Eye Institute,’ NAEVR was pleased to have worked with vision champions Cong. Baldwin, Cong. Sessions, and Cong. Green to ensure successful passage of H. Res. 366. We appreciate Cong. Sessions’ floor statement in which he commended NAEVR for its efforts to expand awareness of the incidence and economic burden of eye disease through the Decade of Vision 2010-2020 Initiative. NAEVR is currently working with its vision champions in the Senate for the successful introduction and passage of a companion resolution in that chamber. These resolutions underscore the importance that Congress places on the NEI as the nation’s lead Institute within NIH to prevent blindness and save and restore vision, benefiting the health, and vision health, of all Americans."

On June 17, NAEVR’s affiliated educational foundation, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, (AEVR), will hold a Capitol Hill reception to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the NEI.

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.