Representatives from Prevent Blindness travel annually to Washington D.C. to advocate for Congressional support of programs and research for the visually impaired. The time spent on Capitol Hill has paid off this year with passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, signed by President Obama in December.
Funding has taken some hard hits over the past few years, but now two federal agencies have received substantial increases that will directly benefit the low vision population. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has received a $32.1 billion (6.6%) increase, and the National Eye Institute (NEI) has received a $715.9 million (4.6%) increase over 2015 funding. In addition, the Act provides major funding for two important research projects: the Precision Medicine Initiative and the BRAIN Initiative.
The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) deserves much of the credit for these funding increases. Prevent Blindness is proud to belong to that coalition and will continue to advocate strongly for ongoing governmental support.