John S. Werner, professor in the UC Davis Health System Eye Center, has received the Lighthouse International Pisart Vision Award, a major U.S. prize honoring people who have made an extraordinary contribution to the prevention, cure or treatment of severe vision impairment or blindness.
Lighthouse International, founded in 1905, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving vision and to helping people overcome the challenges of vision loss. The Pisart Vision Award was established in 1981 and is partially funded by a bequest from Georgette Pisart, a longtime Lighthouse volunteer. The award includes a prize of $35,000 and a glass sculpture created by a blind individual.
Werner is one of the world’s leading authorities in vision science and is especially well-known for his studies describing fundamental changes associated with aging and their optical and neural bases. His studies provide a platform from which to understand why aging of vision occurs. In addition to authoring numerous research publications in the field, Werner has written popular articles for the layperson, including a biography of Claude Monet’s eye, which describes his vision changes associated with cataracts and how they affected his painting.
Werner is a professor of ophthalmology and vision science, and neurobiology, physiology and behavior. A banquet honoring him was held in New York City on Dec. 16. Previous award winners have included Paul Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute; David Cogan of Harvard University; and Louise Sloan of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Werner is the first UC Davis faculty member to receive this award.