NEWS | September 14, 2000



The Department of Ophthalmology at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center has received a $110,000 grant from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding eye diseases.

RPB is the world's leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. To date, the organization has awarded grants totaling $1,818,900 to the Department of Ophthalmology. RPB's annual grant has a vital impact on the research conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology. The funds helped Ivan Schwab, professor of ophthalmology, to restore or improve eyesight in patients suffering from severe corneal damage through the use of a new technique in which replacement corneal tissue is grown in a laboratory dish. The results of the new procedure, which Schwab and R. Rivkah Isseroff, a UC Davis professor of dermatology, developed over the past 10 years, was reported in the July issue of the journal Cornea and in a New England Journal of Medicine editorial.

Ophthalmology department faculty members Leonard Hjelmeland, Lawrence Morse and James Handa have made significant progress in the research of diabetic eye diseases and macular degeneration. Corneal physician Mark Mannis conducts ongoing work in developing the use of defensins in the eye.

John L. Keltner, department chair, continues as the director of the Visual Field Reading Center for the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study, a multi-million dollar collaborative trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute. James Brandt, Roy Curry and Martha O'Donnell are working on their discoveries involving the basic mechanisms in glaucoma. Also, Keltner and Charles Thirkill are investigating cancer-associated retinopathy, melanoma-associated retinopathy, and autoimmune-related retinopathy and optic neuropathy. Phillip Choo is developing new methods for treating thyroid eye problems.

Since its founding in 1960, RPB has channeled more than $177 million to medical institutions throughout the United States for research on all blinding eye diseases.

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