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AEVR and NAEVR Support Release of Published ARVO Study on the
Value of OCT

Paper co-authors Philip Rosenfeld, MD, PhD (left) and Eric Swanson, MS (right) were Briefing presenters along with ARVO President Claude Burgoyne, MD
Paper co-authors Philip Rosenfeld, MD, PhD (left) and Eric Swanson, MS (right) were Briefing presenters along with ARVO President Claude Burgoyne, MD
On December 7, the American Journal of Ophthalmology published an ARVO-generated study on the value of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), a non-invasive imaging technology that provides three-dimensional images of the retina, the light-sensitive back of the eye. That same day, AEVR joined ARVO in hosting a Congressional Briefing entitled OCT: Healthcare Savings Through Research, and NAEVR hosted an Advocacy Day in which the Briefing speakers met with their Congressional delegations to inform then about the study’s findings.

ARVO’s study reported that OCT has saved Medicare $9 billion by reducing the frequency of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drug injections used to treat patients with the “wet” form of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), as well as Diabetic Eye disease. Additionally, the study reported a savings to patients of $2.2 billion in insurance co-pays. The savings to Medicare is 21 times more than the $0.4 billion invested by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the past twenty years—suggesting that investments in vision research more than pay for themselves.

The published study serves as the capstone of ARVO’s public awareness campaign Telling the Story of OCT, which is an initiative to promote the value of vision research to policymakers, the press, patients, and the general public. In that regard, ARVO President Claude Burgoyne, MD (Devers Eye Institute) and study co-authors Philip Rosenfeld, MD, PhD (Bascom Palmer Eye Institute/University of Miami) and Eric Swanson, MS (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)—an MIT affiliate and co-inventor of OCT—presented the paper’s findings at a Congressional Briefing. To help policymakers better understand the technology and its capabilities, Leica Microsystems provided an OCT instrument at the Briefing to scan the retinas of attendees.

Prior to the Briefing and despite the busy day on Capitol Hill—in which the House was voting on a Continuing Resolution to fund government programs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018—Congressional delegation staff were very responsive to the three speakers and ARVO Executive Director Iris Rush, CAE in visits as they provided this tangible example of the value of past investment at NIH. Those visits were hosted by NAEVR’s James Jorkasky and David Epstein, as well as ARVO’s Matt Windsor, PhD, who was the lead author on the paper, which was published as open access through support from Research to Prevent Blindness.

ARVO Executive Director Iris Rush, CAE gets an OCT scan during the Briefing, courtesy of Leica Microsystems
ARVO Executive Director Iris Rush, CAE gets an OCT scan during the Briefing, courtesy of Leica Microsystems
Briefing attendees included Sara Brown of Prevent Blindness, who was joined by NAEVR/AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky
Briefing attendees included Sara Brown of Prevent Blindness, who was joined by NAEVR/AEVR Executive Director
James Jorkasky
Left to right: Dr. Burgoyne (left) and Ms. Rush (right) with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who serves on the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over NIH funding
Dr. Burgoyne (left) and Ms. Rush (right) with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who serves on the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over NIH funding
Dr. Rosenfeld with Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who just recently announced that she will not seek re-election after this session
Dr. Rosenfeld with Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who just recently announced that she will not seek re-election after this session
Mr. Swanson with Nikki Hurt from the office of Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), a long-time NIH champion
Mr. Swanson with Nikki Hurt from the office of Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), a
long-time NIH champion