In 2009, the NEI celebrated its 40th anniversary as the NIH’s lead Institute that manages and funds the nation’s commitment to save and restore vision. Accordingly, Congress recognized NEI’s anniversary by passing H. Res. 366 and S. Res. 209, which also designated 2010-2020 as the decade of vision and recognized NAEVR/AEVR leadership. AEVR’s Decade of Vision 2010-2020 Initiative was a sustained educational effort about the benefit of federally funded vision research for patients. The decade was especially important because of the growth of the aging population, disproportionate incidence of eye disease in fast-growing minority populations, and the impact on vision of chronic diseases.
In 2018, AEVR led the recognition of the 50th anniversary of Congress creating the NEI within the NIH. This included sponsorship of two Congressional Receptions and a September 2018 “foreword’ in a USA Today Vision and Hearing supplement about 50 years of NEI-led vision research breakthroughs.
Under the auspices of the DOV, AEVR has hosted/co-hosted 4-7 Congressional Briefings annually on a breadth of vision research, held its annual Emerging Vision Scientists Day on Capitol Hill events, and issued fact sheets, studies, and publications. Recent highlights include:
- The May/June 2019 edition of Military Medicine journal featured a publication based on AEVR’s 2018 update of the 2012 study Cost of Military Eye Injury—the only such study characterizing costs of penetrating eye injuries and visual dysfunction from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). That study demonstrated significant long-term costs of military eye injuries due to benefits, lost wages, and family care.
- In 2020, AEVR hosted/co-hosted five Congressional Briefings on-site and virtually, including World Glaucoma Week; Dry Eye Awareness Month; International AMD Awareness Week; World Sight Day, and Thyroid Eye Disease Awareness Week. Most of these included patients in a discussion of quality-of-life implications of the disease.
- At the on-site March 2020 World Glaucoma Week Congressional Briefing, AEVR released the latest edition of the Vision Loss and Blindness fact sheet developed jointly with Research!America.
- The July 2020 Dry Eye Awareness Month Congressional Briefing—the sixth year of this activity—focused on how lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 pandemic could affect vision, especially the risk of Dry Eye. AEVR’s continued efforts to educate about the impact of Dry Eye have been instrumental in the NEI developing a new Anterior Segment Initiative (ASI) focused on ocular inflammation, ocular pain, and Dry Eye.
- The September 2020 Sixth Annual Emerging Vision Scientists Day on Capitol Hill engaged 22 early-stage investigators from Departments of Ophthalmology and Schools/Colleges of Optometry who streamed videos about their research and its impact on patients and participated in a one-of-a-kind 30-minute video Conversation about the Impact of COVID-19 Lab Closures on the Next Generation of Vision Scientists.
2021 and Beyond: AEVR’s Research Saving Sight, Restoring Vision Initiative
In mid-2020, the AEVR Board approved a new Initiative to build upon the Decade of Vision Initiative that reflects the focus of NEI’s sight-saving and vision-restoring research. In early 2021, AEVR will introduce the Research Saving Sight, Restoring Vision Initiative (trademark pending) as the umbrella under which it will conduct its sustained education consisting of Congressional Briefings, EVS Days, and fact sheets, studies, and publications. As with the DOV, this education will focus on the impact on patients and consider unmet need and impact on underserved populations.
The AEVR Board of Directors has adopted the attached Diversity Policy.
AEVR Board of Directors
Paul Lee, MD, JD (University of Michigan) Board President
Steven Feldon, MD, MBA (Flaum Eye Institute/University of Rochester) Secretary
Mark Gordon (Alcon)
Linda Hazlett, PhD (Wayne State University School of Medicine) Vice President
Brian F. Hofland, PhD (Research to Prevent Blindness)
Judy Kim, MD (Medical College of Wisconsin)
Peter McDonnell, MD (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins University)
Bartly Mondino, MD (Jules Stein Eye Institute/UCLA)
Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
S. Grace Prakalapakorn, MD, MPH (Duke University)
Rajesh Rajpal, MD (Johnson & Johnson Vision)
Michael Robinson, MD (Allergan, an AbbVie Company)
Iris Rush, CAE (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology)
Gregory Skuta, MD (Dean McGee Eye Institute/University of Oklahoma) Treasurer
Earl L. Smith III, OD, PhD (University of Houston)
AEVR Executive Director
AEVR Director, Education
David H. Epstein