The global cost of vision loss for the 733 million people living with low vision and blindness worldwide is an estimated $3 trillion US dollars. Studies show that people with visual impairment were deprived of the equivalent of 118 million years of healthy life due to disability and premature death in 2010. If current trends continue, this health burden is expected to rise to 150 million disability-adjusted life years in 2020.
Tell Congress to increase research funding to the National Institutes of Health to help doctors and patients better understand, prevent, and treat vision diseases. Working together, we can save sight for millions of Americans.
Sample Letter to Congress
I am writing to urge you to increase National Institutes of Health research on major vision diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Many leading health and science groups are urging an increase in funding for NIH to keep pace with the rising cost of scientific research.
Despite 14 million Americans having some form of either macular degeneration or glaucoma, doctors and patients need to know much more about better preventing and treating these leading causes of vision loss.
Approximately 11 million people in the U.S. have macular degeneration, a retinal disease that interferes with central, straight-ahead vision. Three million Americans have some form of glaucoma, but half may not be aware of this. Glaucoma affects peripheral vision and, if not detected early, can lead to complete blindness.
Please strongly support National Institutes of Health research in the federal budget. If we make the right investments in science and technology, we can save sight for millions of people.