WVU Eye Institute receives grant for blindness research

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Eye Institute has received a four-year, $200,000 Challenge Grant from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) for the development of advanced research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases.

The research will be under the direction of Judie Charlton, M.D., chair of the WVU Eye Institute.

RPB was founded in 1960 by Jules Stein, M.D., to fund and promote eye research into the causes, treatment and cure of all diseases causing blindness. It has distributed hundreds of millions of research dollars to medical institutions.

“We are particularly honored to receive this Challenge Grant since the founder of RPB, Dr. Jules Stein, was a West Virginia University student from 1912 to1913. He supported his education by working as a musician, and legend has it that he travelled West Virginia playing his clarinet,” Dr. Charlton said. 

“Dr. Stein eventually became an ophthalmologist, but his greatest financial success came from his astute organizational skills in the entertainment industry. He never forgot his roots in eye care, and his creation of RPB has benefitted the eyesight of millions.”

The Challenge Grant will bolster current Eye Institute research, which includes:
• treatment for the childhood blinding disease Lebers’ amaurosis
• biochemistry of retinal degeneration
• development, genetics and treatment of glaucoma
• infectious corneal ulcers

“This grant challenges us to grow research capacity, and we plan to explore new initiatives in the visual rehabilitation of children, epidemiology of blinding diseases in West Virginia and effectiveness of screening technologies in rural populations,” Charlton said.

For information on the WVU Eye Institute see http://health.wvu.edu/services/eye-institute/index.aspx.

For information on RPB see www.rpbusa.org.




For more information:
Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 07-01-09

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