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Rare Disease Day Petition

2014 Summer Challenge to End Blindness

Tell Congress You Support Increased Funding for Vision Research at the National Eye Institute

Now is the time to accelerate funding for vision research, both in the private AND public sectors. 

Right now, the total U.S. health system cost for vision diseases is more than $51 billion.  And that number will soar with some 20 million people in the United States at risk of severe vision loss and blindness from retinal disease by 2020.

Research advancements – many funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness – have led to an era of clinical trials.  But the pace of research funding in the public sector has not kept pace with rising costs of supporting research.  With your help, we can work to reverse the downward trend in the number of National Eye Institute’s funded research grant proposals.

We’ve made it easy to tell Congress about the importance of keeping up the momentum on research.  By filling out the short form below, your message will be sent directly to Congress.  We have provided a sample letter but encourage you to add your own personal story.  Telling YOUR story is the best way to make sure that your message is read and makes an impact.

When you are done, just hit Send Message in the lower left corner of this page and your voice will join thousands of others supporting increased funding for vision research today.


  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative


*Required fields


Dear [Decision Maker],

This is an exciting time for vision research, with recent breakthroughs giving hope to an estimated 20 million people facing vision loss by 2020. As a member of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and someone who is personally committed to supporting their mission to end blindness, I request that you support funding of $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $730 million for the National Eye Institute (NEI) in the FY15 Budget.

Private organizations like the Foundation Fighting Blindness are doing what they can, investing more than $500 million in vision research over the last 40+ years. But nonprofits and private companies can only do so much. That is why full funding for NEIand NIH grant funding is so critical. They hold the promise of moving us toward a cure for so many retinal diseases that affect millions of Americans.

My request comes at a critical time given America's aging population. With the first wave of the 78 million Baby Boomers turning 65, NEI estimates that without new treatments and cures we will see a dramatic increase in age-related eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

NEI-funded research is saving and restoring vision, reducing health care costs, enhancing productivity, ensuring independence, and maintaining quality of life. But if the President's proposed budget is enacted, it would mark the 11th straight year of NIH funding not keeping pace with biomedical inflation, which would have a devastating effect on the health and economic vitality of the nation, as well as negatively impact the next generation of scientists and researchers.

Thank you.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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