The National Eye Institute (NEI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is responsible for funding sight-saving and sight-restoring vision research. The annual cost for vision disorders/blindness in the United States is $145 billion. Direct medical costs associated with vision disorders are the fifth highest-only less than heart disease, cancers, emotional disorders, and pulmonary conditions. Adequately funding vision research is vital due to the following:
NEI’s FY2018 enacted budget of $772.3 million is only about 0.5 percent of the $145 billion annual cost of vision disorders. The U.S. spends only $2.30 per-person, per-year for vision research, while the cost of treating low vision and blindness is $6,680 per-person, per-year.
Vision loss can be a co-morbid condition of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, which is at epidemic levels due to the increased incidence of obesity.
In public opinion polls over the past fifty years, including a 2014 poll reflecting all four major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S., Americans have identified fear of vision loss as second only to fear of cancer-and for which they would trade remaining years of life to avoid.
AEVR Was Pleased to Hold Two September Events In Conjuction with the Fourth Annual Emerging Vision Scientists Day on Capitol Hill