|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2004
|CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
NAEVR Urges House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee to Fund NEI at $711 Million in FY2005; Cites New Data on Age-Related Eye Disease
(Washington, DC) Today, in a statement and written testimony submitted by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) President Dr. Stephen Ryan to the hearing file of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, NAEVR supported NEI funding of $711 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, an increase of 8% over FY2004, as compared to the President's budget request of $672 million, or a 2.9% increase over FY2004. NAEVR noted that, as of FY2004, the NEI was only at 92% of its budget-doubling goal of $711 million.
In its testimony, NAEVR cited a recently released NEI-sponsored study which found that more than 38 million Americans age 40+ currently experience blindness, low vision, or serious age-related eye disease, and that this number is expected to increase to more than 50 million by the year 2020. NAEVR also cited an updated NEI estimate of the economic and societal cost of eye disease and vision impairment, which is $68 billion annually and growing. In his statement, Ryan concluded that adequately funding NEI now is vital because:
- Eye and vision disease is near epidemic proportions;
- NEI research is a cost-effective investment; and
- Past NEI testimony has successfully resulted in key basic and translational findings that must be pursued in the future.
In its House testimony, NAEVR also supported overall FY2005 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $30 billion - the funding level in the Senate-passed Budget Resolution - and commended NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni for fostering collaborative and cost-efficient research through the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.
The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of nearly 50 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVR's goal is to achieve the best vision for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI), and other federal research entities. Visit NAEVR's Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.