This past year was filled with discovery and progress. Three faculty members received the Champalimaud Vision Award, which is a one million Euro recognition given to scientists with the greatest contribution to vision research worldwide. This achievement was the product of 25 years of rigorous research led by Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, Samuel Jacobson, MD, PhD, and Albert Maguire, MD. Today, children and adults blind from a specific mutation in the eye can have their vision restored through gene therapy. We are incredibly hopeful that this knowledge will lead to similar therapies for other eye diseases in the future. For example, in one of the articles featured below, we explore a new gene therapy for macular degeneration that has shown efficacy in a canine model.
This level of innovation can be seen throughout the entire Department. In 2018, our physicians conducted 117 clinical trials testing investigational therapies in patients with blinding eye diseases. You can read about one of these trials, the Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) study, in an article below. The DREAM study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and has been the subject of national media attention.
Having a thriving research program ensures that we provide the most up-to-date treatments to our patients. In 2018, our physicians saw more than 125,000 patient visits in 17 sub-specialties. Below, we tell the story of two of these patients, who both received a life-changing corneal transplant. We also detail the impact of our vision loss support group, which provides valuable information and emotional support to dozens of patients each month. Finally, we shine a spotlight on our oculoplastic and elective services, describing unique options offered for patients.
Our physicians are also passionate about caring for underserved populations, traveling throughout Philadelphia and across the world to provide free eye care. Below, we highlight the outreach of Graham Quinn, MD, MSCE, who has traveled to numerous countries to care for babies with retinopathy of prematurity.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the colleagues, trainees, and patients who make the Scheie Eye Institute such an extraordinary place. I could not be more proud to lead and represent this outstanding team. I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season!
Joan O’Brien, MD