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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2004
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR Releases New Fact Sheet on the Incidence of Age-Related Eye Disease to Support Increased NEI Funding in FY2005

(Washington, DC) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) announced that it has developed a new fact sheet that details the incidence of age-related eye disease and graphically demonstrates vision loss associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts.

The data, which were reported in the April 2004 Archives of Ophthalmology , were prepared for the National Eye Institute (NEI) by the Eye Disease Prevalence Research Group, a consortium of principal investigators who have conducted population-based eye disease studies. The data revealed that more than 38 million Americans age 40+ currently experience blindness, low vision, or serious age-related eye disease. This number is projected to increase to about 50 million by the year 2020.

The fact sheet also cites the NEI's updated estimate of the economic and societal cost of eye disease and vision impairment, which is $68 billion annually and growing, due to the aging of the population.

"Seeing the world as would a person with AMD, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or cataracts makes a compelling case for more federal funding for eye and vision research, let alone the accompanying age-related eye disease incidence and economic impact data," said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky. "NAEVR will use this document to educate legislators about the major public health problem of age-related eye disease and why the NEI should be funded at $711 million in Fiscal Year 2005 to conduct research into treatments and therapies for these conditions."

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of nearly 50 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.