• Federal Vision Research

    Issue

    Federal research programs are among the most fruitful in identifying and cultivating innovative treatments for vision ailments. We support vision-research programs at the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.  

    What the Academy is doing 

    Months of unyielding Academy advocacy helped compel Congress to adopt a federal spending bill that significantly increase funding for federal vision-research programs. Congress’ vote to increase funding took place just a few days after hundreds of U.S. ophthalmologists personally lobbied their federal lawmakers on this issue. Congress’ appropriations bill funds the National Eye Institute at $732.6 million, an increase of $16.7 million. Additionally, it funds the Department of Defense Vision Research Program at $15 million. This is a $5 million increase over the last appropriations cycle. The NIH also benefited from the Academy’s support of the recently passed 21st Century Cures Act. That law increased the NIH’s discretionary funding to enable new research into innovative treatments for cancer and brain-related ailments. It also increased funds for the Food and Drug Administration.   

    Next steps 

    We’re already looking ahead towards the next appropriations cycle. We’re carefully evaluating the Trump administration’s priorities to identify programs we must promote or protect. By partnering with the other members of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, we’ll have a strong voice in our fight for continued, sustained funding. We’ll continue to reinforce to Congress the importance of these programs, which affect patients nationwide. We’ll also work to ensure that vision health becomes a greater public health priority. We’re also working to stop President Trump’s proposed restructuring of the NIH in budget “clusters.” If this occurs, the NEI would share funding with other brain-related institutes and centers that it would be grouped with.