• Research to Prevent Blindness
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Ocular Pathology/Oncology, Retina/Vitreous

    With the approval of 33 new grants to individual scientists and 24 grants to departments of ophthalmology, Research to Prevent Blindness has completed its final round of grants for the year and provided $10.7 million in funding for vision research this year.

    The organization’s current round of grants includes the new Stein Innovation Award for researchers with primary appointments outside of ophthalmology. Among the research funded within this new grant category are studies intended to:

    • Combine adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy with high resolution functional testing of vision, a combination that represents the next frontier in retina imaging;
    • Refine and deploy a new retinal camera for a higher resolution of capillary remodeling and retinal blood flow, with analyses algorithms that will enable tracking of microvascular structure changes as early manifestations of diabetic eye disease;
    • Determine the first molecular steps in the cascade of events that causes subsets of ganglion cells to die in order to design neuro-protective interventions to insulate cells from glaucomatous stressors; and
    • Create a DNA-based assay to test drugs known to inhibit pathways that lead to growth and metastasis of uveal melanomas.

    “All of RPB’s grants are designed to move the field of eye science closer to understanding disease causes and mechanisms, and to developing treatments, cures and reversals of those diseases,” says Brian F. Hofland, PhD, the organization’s president. “A creative breakthrough can come from a researcher at any time and we want to ensure that he or she has adequate support to continue the arc of their work. For instance, the recent discovery that inexpensive and already-FDA-approved HIV drugs may treat both the wet and dry forms of macular degeneration was partially funded by an RPB grant.”