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Champion of blinded soldiers, Congressman Murtha, is Man of Vision
Date:12/17/2007

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Experts estimate that between 16 and 20 percent of returning soldiers have eye injuries, and many of those with traumatic brain injuries are also experiencing vision complications. Much higher than in previous wars, the incidence of eye injuries has been the result of the wide use of Improvised Explosive Devices and advanced armor technology that saves lives by shielding the body's core, but does little to protect the face and extremities.

Well-respected for his firsthand knowledge of military and defense issues, Murtha has been a trusted adviser to presidents of both political parties. In response to the flood of military eye injuries seen at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Murtha initiated a research partnership between the Department of Defense and Schepens Eye Research Institute, the country's largest eye research institute. The success of this partnership--which stimulated study of issues ranging from nerve regeneration to enhanced heads-up displays to warn soldiers in the battlefield--has encouraged DoD to build a vision research program, which now includes additional partners from around the country.

"With Congressman Murtha's encouragement and leadership, we have been able to show that nerve regeneration is, in fact, possible," notes Dr. Michael S. Gilmore, President and CEO of Schepens and Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. "This work, which has been funded through his efforts, is exciting scientifically, and opens the way for new treatments not only for optic nerves and retinas damaged in combat, but also for veterans who have suffered spinal and brain injuries on the battlefield."


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Contact: Patti Jacobs
pjacobs12@comcast.net
617-868-0077
Schepens Eye Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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