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NAEVR Requests FY2007 Funding for Defense-related Eye and Vision Research

NAEVR has formally requested that "Eye and Vision Research" be added to categories eligible for peer-reviewed funding within the Congressionally-directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) within the Department of Defense (DOD). It was first added to the list of eligible categories last year as part of the FY2006 Defense Appropriations bill.

The CDMRP program is funded through the Military Quality of Life appropriations bill in the House, where it has already been added to this year's bill, thanks to the effort of Rep. Jim Walsh (R-NY). In the Senate it is funded through the DOD appropriations bill. NAEVR is working through Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to include it in that chamber's bill. By including it in both the House and Senate's bills, it would be much more likely to be included in the final conference commmittee version.

The practical implication of the addition of "Eye and Vision Research" to the CDMRP program will be the opportunity for defense-related vision researchers to submit competing grants for funding. With greater experience with this process, grantees may then seek direct earmarks from Congress in future DOD spending bills.

A working group of ARVO members was pivotal to the development of the FY2007 funding justification document, which cites three major areas of vision research most applicable to defense applications: visual acuity, eye trauma and infection, and vision health disparities. NAEVR's case was strengthened by a Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs finding that 15 percent of current wartime injuries relate to the eye, with optic nerve trauma the most grave condition.