Defense-Related Research Funding

NAEVR Attends 8th Military Vision Symposium on Innovation and Unmet Needs for Ocular Injury

The Military Vision Symposium Speakers
The Military Vision Symposium Speakers

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) was pleased to support and participate in the Military Vision Symposium on March 2-3, held in Boston, Massachusetts at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear. The event was sponsored by the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology, the Cornea Center of Excellence, the National Eye Institute (NEI), and NAEVR.

In addition to the sponsors, representatives from the joint Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs Vision Centers of Excellence, and the U.S. Army Medical Research & Material Command where the Vision Research Program (VRP) is housed within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) presented about the importance of military vision research. NAEVR was pleased to present an update on federally funded vision research, particularly within the NEI and the Department of Defense (DOD) Vision Research Program (VRP). NAEVR also presented on the historical trends and prospects for federally funded vision research in FY2024.

The two-day event focused on combat-related eye injuries—one of the most common, yet-less publicized types of war injuries, and included a virtual presentation by Adam Wylegala, MD, from the Department of Ophthalmology Railway Hospital, Silesian Medical University, in Katowice, Poland VAMC, who discussed the treatment of ocular injury in civilian and military personnel in Ukraine. It was evident from the panel discussions and the experiences from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, that today’s soldiers are facing significant threats from devices that cause extensive damage, particularly to areas not protected by body armor, including the eyes.

This symposium brought together military leaders, clinicians, and scientists, with the goal of propelling innovative research that will lead to improved treatment and prevention strategies for combat-related eye injuries. The panel discussions, lectures, and lightning talks encompassed a variety of topics that covered diagnosis, mitigation, and regenerative medicine aspects of eye injuries in mass casualties and discussed DOD and NIH vision research funding trends and opportunities.