FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2012
|CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
NAEVR TO SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: DISAPPOINTED THAT NEI BUDGET STILL CUT DESPITE A PROPOSED $100 MILLION NIH FUNDING INCREASE
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) commented on the Senate Appropriation Committees approval of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) spending bill that increases National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by $100 million yet continues to reduce the NEI budget by $6.9 million:
Despite the commendable bipartisan efforts of LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) to increase NIH funding by $100 million during these difficult budget times, the vision community remains disappointed in the NEI cut, precipitated by the NIH Office of AIDS Research dissolving the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis clinical trials. Although the Senate has reduced that $8.9 million cut proposed in the Presidents budget to $6.9 million, it still means less funding for vision research-about $12 million below the FY2010 budget level, or about 30 research grants.
Any cut to the NEI budget now is especially alarming since the first wave of the 78 million Baby Boomers has started turning age 65 and is at greatest risk from aging eye disease. NEI estimates that, by 2020, more than 50 million Americans age 40+ will be blind, have low vision, or an age-related eye disease. Congressional resolutions passed in 2009 recognized 2010-2020 as The Decade of Vision, so vision research funding must keep pace with the growing public health problem of aging eye disease and vision impairment.
The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.