|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2007
|CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
NAEVR SUPPORTS HOUSE LEGISLATION DIRECTING DOD AND VA TO COORDINATE ON ACCOUNTING FOR COMBAT-RELATED EYE INJURIES AND TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY VISION RESEARCH
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) announced its support for H.R.3558, the Military Eye Trauma Treatment Act of 2007. In a letter to sponsor Cong. John Boozman (R-AR), NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky specifically noted support for the following key provisions:
- Creation of a Center of Excellence within the Department of Defense (DOD) that would collaborate with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on a comprehensive approach to the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of eye injuries and trauma, including a Military Eye Injury Registry to track the diagnosis and treatment of each significant eye injury incurred by a member of the armed forces while on active duty; and
- Creation of a joint DOD/VA program to coordinate on all aspects of visual dysfunction related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), including screening, diagnosis, rehabilitative management, and research.
"As NAEVR has stated in its annual justification for eye and vision research’s eligibility for DOD funding within the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP), a soldier’s vision is the sense most critical for optimal performance," said Jorkasky, who added that the extent of immediate diagnosis and treatment can affect the soldier for a lifetime due to vision impairment or chronic eye disease, affecting physical and emotional health, productivity, and quality of life for the reminder of military service and into civilian life. "NAEVR is pleased that this important legislation will assist in the seamless transition of eye-injured personnel from DOD care to that of the VA."
Both H.R. 3558 and S. 1999, similar legislation that was introduced in the Senate, have garnered bipartisan support in the House and Senate and are backed by multiple veterans groups, in addition to key NAEVR member organizations, including Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), American Optometric Association (AOA), and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).
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 www.eyeresearch.org.