Research group awards grant to ophthalmology

By Russell Rian 

UT Southwestern ophthalmologists have been awarded a $100,000 grant from Research to Prevent Blindness.

Research to Prevent Blindness, the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research, to date has awarded grants totaling $3.4 million to UT Southwestern.

“Research to Prevent Blindness has given us crucial support over the years,” said Dr. James McCulley, chairman of ophthalmology and director of the Jean H. & John T. Walter Jr. Center for Research in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. “This funding is a critical part of our clinical and research missions at UT Southwestern and has proven instrumental in identifying ways to combat and prevent blinding diseases.”

This latest grant will fund research examining the front (dry eye and LASIK outcomes) to the back of the eye (age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy).

Previous funding has helped UT Southwestern researchers uncover key findings in a number of ophthalmic fields, including:

  • Identifying a critical protein in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which affects the retina, the part of the eye that detects light before it is transformed in the brain into an image. ROP babies have poor vision and, in many cases, go blind.
  • Understanding why patients with eye allergies have a significantly higher risk for rejecting corneal transplants than patients without eye allergies.
  • Developing an eye-staining technique to identify dry eye syndrome, one of the most common eye ailments.

Since its founding in 1960, Research to Prevent Blindness has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions across the U.S.