About NAEVR and AEVR...
NAEVR is a 501c4 non-profit advocacy organization comprised of a coalition of 55 professional, patient and consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVR’s goal is to achieve the best eye and vision care for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its National Eye Institute (NEI), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and other federal agencies.
NAEVR was formed in 1997 as an affiliate of the non-profit 501c3 educational foundation Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), which was founded in 1993 by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO). Serving as the “Friends of the NEI,” NAEVR/AEVR emphasize that NEI-funded research to save/restore vision has served to reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity, maintain independence, and improve the quality of life for all Americans. NAEVR works closely with regulatory agencies-specifically the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-to ensure that it is aware of the results of NEI-funded research and how that may affect product approvals.
NAEVR’s advocacy resulted in a Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 NIH increase of $2 billion (5.4%) and an NEI increase of $24.2 million (3.1%). Combined with increases in FYs 2016, 2017, and 2018, this reflects a $9 billion NIH increase and $120 million NEI increase over the four years. FY2019 appropriations also included $20 million for the Vision Research Program (VRP) within the DOD—the first year at this level and $5 million greater than the $15 million appropriated in each of fiscal years 2017 and 2018. In September 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report sponsored by NAEVR entitled Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow. NAEVR is using this report to advocate for increased NEI appropriations.
About AEVR’s Decade of Vision 2010-2020 Initiative...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 is a sustained educational effort about the benefit of federally funded vision research for patients. The decade is especially important because:
- NEIs FY2019 enacted budget of $797 million is only about 0.5 percent of the $145 billion annual cost of vision disorders. The U.S. spends only $2.40 per-person, per-year for vision research, while the cost of treating low vision and blindness is $6,680 per-person, per-year.
- The first wave of the 78 million Baby Boomers-also called the “Silver Tsunami”- started turning age 65 in 2010. Each day, for the next 18 years afterward, 10,000 Americans will turn age 65 and be at greatest risk for age-related eye disease.
- 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.
- The African American and Hispanic communities, which increasingly account for a larger share of the population, experience a disproportionately greater risk of eye disease.
- A 2014 public opinion poll found that a majority of Americans across racial and ethnic lines describe losing vision as potentially having the greatest impact on their day-to-day life, more so than loss of limb, memory, hearing, and speech.
- Vision research is a cost-effective investment since it leads to therapies that can delay or avoid vision loss and associated healthcare expenditures. Vision loss is associated with increased depression and accelerated mortality.
- The U.S. is the world leader in vision research. Without adequate funding, the NEI may not be able to pursue its primary “audacious goal” of regenerating neurons and neural connections in the eye and visual system, thereby restoring vision and returning individuals to productive, independent, and quality lives.
- The U.S. is also a leader in scientific training. Not adequately funding the NEI threatens the development of the next generation of vision scientists.
NAEVR encourages all Web site visitors to become an advocate for eye and vision research by contacting your Members of Congress about the importance of adequately funding the NEI.
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