January 28, 2019
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 issue of the Independent Budget (IB)a biennial set of recommendations to Congress regarding Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding which is developed by Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and supported by 24 other Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Service Organizations (MSOs), including NAEVR has once again called for dedicated funding for vision trauma research at the Department of Defense (DOD).
The 31st annual edition of the IB recommends that Congress fund the DOD's Peer-Reviewed Vision Research Program (VRP) at $20 million, the same level as that funded in FY2019 (reflecting a $5 million increase over FY2018) to address combat eye injuries. This recommendation supports NAEVRs request for this dedicated extramural research funding into deployment-related eye injuries and immediate battlefield needs. Supporting its recommendation, the IB cites the 2018 Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) update of NAEVR's 2012 Cost of Military Eye Injury and Blindness study, which concluded from data published from 2000-2017 on combat-related eye injuries that the total projected cost to the economy is $41.47 billion in that timeframe, with $40.2 billion of that cost reflecting the present value of a lifetime of long-term benefits, lost wages, and family care.