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September 12, 2007
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director


(Washington, D.C.) Today, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) Executive Director James Jorkasky cited the just-released U.S. Census data on the number of individuals 65 and older that were still working as evidence of the importance of good senior vision health to the nation, as well as the critical need for adequate federal research funding on aging eye disease. The U.S. Census data for 2006 reported that, nationally, one in four individuals age 65-74 was still working, as compared to one in five in 2000. The percentage was even higher in the Washington, D.C. region, where about one-third of people in that age range continued to work.

"Senior productivity is just one of the many reasons that research into aging eye disease is so important", stated Jorkasky, who noted that adult vision loss is associated with increased healthcare costs, reduced independence, diminished quality of life, increased depression, and accelerated mortality. "Research to delay, prevent, and treat aging eye disease will not only result in seniors living more productive lives, but can also reduce Medicare costs."

To ensure that legislators are fully aware of the impact of aging eye disease, NAEVR, in partnership with the Alliance for Aging Research, will release the first-ever volume of the Alliance’s The Silver Book: Chronic Disease and Medical Innovation in An Aging Nation dedicated to aging eye disease—The Silver Book: Vision Loss. The release event will be held on Tuesday, September 25, from 12 Noon – 1:15 pm in the Russell Senate Office Building Room 385. It occurs during Worldwide Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Week 2007 with the theme of The Face of AMD, and is being held in conjunction with the Congressional Vision Caucus, Prevent Blindness America, and AMD Alliance International.

Featured speakers include: National Eye Institute (NEI)-funded researcher Michael Gorin, M.D., Ph.D. (Jules Stein Eye Institute/UCLA), who will discuss current research into aging eye disease; economist David Rein, Ph.D. (RTI International), who will address the economic burden of eye disease; and patient Hyman Shapiro, J.D., who will describe living with AMD. NAEVR’s Executive Director James Jorkasky will join Alliance for Aging Research’s Executive Director Dan Perry in moderating the event.

More than 38 million Americans age 40 and older are blind, visually impaired, or have an age-related eye disease. The economic impact of adult vision loss is astonishing, with the United States costs exceeding $51 billion—a huge share of the $68 billion annual cost of all vision impairment and eye disease, as estimated by the National Eye Institute (NEI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a nonprofit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVR’s goal is to achieve the best vision for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI), and other federal research entities. Visit NAEVR’s Web site at