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Rare Disease Day Petition

2015 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 only soar with millions of people in the United States at risk of severe vision loss and blindness from retinal disease.

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-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 ensure 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 millions of people facing vision loss. As a member of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and someone who is personally committed to supporting its mission to end blindness, I request that you increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Private organizations are doing all they can. The Foundation Fighting Blindness, for example, has invested $600 million in vision research over the past 44 years. But nonprofits and private companies can only do so much. That is why full funding for NEI and NIH grants 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 70 soon, 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.

NEI-funded research is saving and restoring vision, reducing health care costs, enhancing productivity, ensuring independence and maintaining quality of life.

NIH funding must keep pace with biomedical inflation. If it does not, this 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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