• American Academy of Ophthalmology Announces $2 million gift to Advance Childhood Eye Disease Research

    Knights Templar Eye Foundation funds data-driven research to improve the care of children

    SAN FRANCISCO and CHICAGO –  Oct. 28, 2018 – The American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced a $2 million gift from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation (KTEF) to establish a permanent research fund to advance the practice of pediatric ophthalmology. This fund will be used to support the work of researchers investigating both rare and common eye diseases affecting children and to uncover optimal, real-world approaches to prevention and treatment. The announcement was made at AAO 2018, the 122nd annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

    Insights for these projects will be gleaned from the Academy’s IRIS® Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight), the world’s largest clinical specialty data registry. The Academy developed the IRIS Registry to provide insights on eye disease, and to empower ophthalmologists to effectively improve their practices and their patients’ lives. Having amassed data on 50 million patients in just four years, this data-rich resource has already improved the quality of eye care for adult patients. KTEF expects this gift to the Academy Foundation will extend the power of the IRIS Registry to serve the needs of children as it has adults.

    The fund will enable the Academy’s IRIS Registry team to enhance the capture of data collected on pediatric patients to reveal patient characteristics associated with disease and better approaches to their prevention and treatment. The IRIS Registry team will also focus on attracting more pediatric ophthalmologists to contribute to the database, further enhancing the power of its data-driven insights.

    The IRIS Registry will also be used to drive individualized learning for pediatric ophthalmologists, providing them with information on their performance, outcomes of treatment, and adherence to best practices. It will also connect ophthalmologists to an online tool offering the best educational resources in pediatric ophthalmology.

    “This grant is an extraordinary gift for ophthalmology,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “It will build upon the strengths of the world’s largest clinical data registry to drive insights on children’s eye health. I have no doubt that it will improve the care of individual children. The Knights Templar Eye Foundation is a tremendous partner for our profession and our patients.”

    KTEF is committed to reducing childhood blindness. Since 1955, it has provided more than $25 million in grants for researchers working in pediatric ophthalmology and ophthalmic genetics. In 2015, the charity provided the Academy $1 million to create an online resource offering the best educational tools to pediatric ophthalmologists around the globe.

    The Knights Templar Eye Foundation is a charity sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, a Masonic fraternal organization. Their mission is "to improve vision through research, education, and supporting access to care." For the last 19 years, the Foundation has been a key supporter of the Academy Foundation’s public service program EyeCare America, which provides sight-saving services to the medically underserved across the United States.

    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.