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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2013
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR TO CONGRESSIONAL APPROPRIATORS: $139 BILLION COST FOR EYE AND VISION DISORDERS REQUIRES NECESSARY FUNDING FOR NEI

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) delivered letters to Congressional appropriations leaders and members of the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees that informed them of the new $139 billion cost of eye and vision disorders and the importance of necessary funding for the National Eye Institute (NEI) to address the challenge of saving and restoring vision.

NAEVR provided top-line results from Prevent Blindness America’s (PBA) report, released on June 18, 2013, and entitled Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States, which was prepared by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The report’s estimated cost of $139 billion—based on the 2011 U.S. population and in 2013 dollars—is more than double PBA’s prior estimate of $51.4 billion for adult vision disorders and NEI’s prior estimate of $68 billion for all vision disorders.

In calling upon Congress to ensure that the NEI has the necessary funding to address these challenges, NAEVR stated that, “The study’s authors emphasize that the financial burden will continue to grow due to increasing healthcare costs and an aging population.” NAEVR noted that, in 2009, the House (H. Res. 366) and Senate (S. Res. 209) recognized the NEI’s 40th anniversary and designated 2010-2020 as The Decade of Vision, reflecting the growing burden of eye disease.

NAEVR had stated in March 13 verbal testimony in the House and in April 29 written testimony to the Senate, as well as in letters to Congressional appropriators, that the NEI is facing a significant challenge with the aging of the population and the increased risk of eye disease.

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.