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Fighting Vision Impairment and Blindness: A priority for the European citizens

European Vision Institute EEIG (EVI)
Logo EVI
European Association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER)

Joint note of the European Vision Institute (EVI) and the European Association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER) to the EU Commissioner of Research Dr. Janez Potocnik on October 3rd, 2008 in Portoroz, Slovenia.

  1. The Problem

    • EU-Population aged 80 and above will more that double between 2005 and 2050
    • There is a projected increase of the prevalence of blindness and low vision in EU by 30 percent by the year 2050
    • By contrast to the US, funding of specific research calls to fight vision impairment and blindness has practically disappeared in FP 7.

  2. Urgent Needs

    • Dedicated European program for fighting blindness and low vision in EU that is presently buried in Neurosciences.
    • Opportunities for continuation of successful FP 6 Programs in the 2010 calls, especially central data bases, DNA Banks and Clinical trial units.
    • Acquisition of data on social and economic impact of visual impairment in Europe: Evidence basis for public health policies.
    • Development of one Annual Meeting for all EU projects in Vision and Eye Research
    • Development of an European Eye Institute analogous to the National Eye Institute in US that fosters the endeavour to combat blindness by research for the last 50 years

  3. Deliverable outcomes

    • In Europe, Eye and Vision Research is excellent and recognized worldwide. This will be maintained and extended.
    • There are new initiatives in EU to treat age related diseases (gene therapy, immunomodulation, neuroprotection (e. g. EVI-GENORET, RETNET). These will be consolidated and completed.
    • The social and economic impact will be considerable and could save billions of Euros for the Health Care system
    • Quality of life will improve considerably by keeping the elderly selfsustained and able to communicate and therefore liberating the younger work force.

Read also the full speech of Dr. Janez Potocnik.