Champion of blinded soldiers, Congressman Murtha, is Man of Vision

December 17, 2007

Schepens Eye Research Institute has named Congressman John P. Murtha, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, this year's Man of Vision for his advocacy on behalf of veterans blinded by war and for research to restore their vision.

Its highest honor, each year the Institute gives the Man of Vision Award to an individual who has made lasting contributions to vision research and the awareness of the challenges of vision loss. Among previous awardees have been jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, journalist and Time Magazine's managing editor Henry Grunwald, and Boston philanthropist Dick Harte.

For more than 30 years, Murtha of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, has pushed for medical research partnerships that target the specific needs of war fighters and veterans. Most recently, his initiatives have helped the Department of Defense respond proactively to the increasing number of eye injuries suffered by American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In accepting the award from Schepens officials last week, Murtha said, "We owe our troops more than just a debt of gratitude. We owe them the best care this country has to offer, today and in the future. Investing in vision research is an important part of making sure we can offer the care they need." Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, an avid Schepens supporter, was on hand for the award presentation.

Massachusetts Congressmen Mike Capuano and Stephen Lynch, who have long been champions of vision research at Schepens, also voiced their support for this recognition of Murtha's advocacy. "Congressman Murtha's commitment to vision research is critical to addressing the health needs of the men and women who have given so much for this country," said Capuano. "Without question, Mr. Murtha's efforts will not only benefit our returning veterans but will also relieve the suffering of millions of people who are affected by serious eye injuries and diseases throughout the world," added Lynch.

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."
-end-
For additional information on Schepens Eye Research Institute contact Patti Jacobs or visit www.schepens.harvard.edu.

Schepens Eye Research Institute is an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and the largest independent eye research institute in the nation.

Schepens Eye Research Institute

Related Brain Injuries Articles from Brightsurf:

Global MRI data offers hope for improving treatment of brain injuries
A sizable research consortium coordinated by NTNU and St. Olavs Hospital will analyse large amounts of MRI exam data from around the world.

Head and neck injuries make up nearly 28% of all electric scooter accident injuries
A Henry Ford study is sounding the alarm on the rise of electric scooter injuries, and particularly head and neck injuries, since the 2017 introduction of e-scooter rideshare programs in urban centers.

Concussion discovery reveals dire, unknown effect of even mild brain injuries
Even mild concussions cause severe and long-lasting impairments in the brain's ability to clean itself, and this may seed it for Alzheimer's, dementia and other neurodegenerative problems.

AI successfully used to identify different types of brain injuries
Researchers have developed an AI algorithm that can detect and identify different types of brain injuries.

Boys with inattention-hyperactivity face increased risk for traumatic brain injuries
McGill-led research shows that boys exhibiting inattention-hyperactivity at age 10 have a higher risk for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in adolescence and adulthood.

Antipsychotics associated with increased risk of head, brain injuries in persons with AD
The use of antipsychotics is associated with increased risks of head and brain injuries among persons with Alzheimer's disease, according to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland.

Brain model offers new insights into damage caused by stroke and other injuries
A UB researcher has developed a computer model of the human brain that more realistically simulates actual patterns of brain impairment than existing methods.

Antipsychotic medications linked to brain injuries in individuals with Alzheimer's disease
New findings published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reveal that use of antipsychotic medications was associated with an increased risk of head injuries in a study of individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

Soldiers, athletes could improved outcomes from traumatic brain injuries
A traumatic brain injury is often easily suspected and can be confirmed and treated if necessary following an injury using a blood analysis, but scientists are reporting that even one mild blast to the brain can cause very subtle but permanent damage as well.

Peptide hydrogels could help heal traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) -- defined as a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts normal brain function -- sent 2.5 million people in the U.S. to the emergency room in 2014.

Read More: Brain Injuries News and Brain Injuries Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.