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Joan O'Brien sitting at deskWelcome to the annual edition of Scheie Vision. Our Department has made exciting advances this past year, with remarkable progress in research, education, patient care, and community service – all of which you can read about below.
Our faculty is committed to researching innovative treatments and therapies. Our basic science researchers regularly engage with our clinicians to translate discoveries from bench to patient care through numerous impactful clinical trials. In August, three faculty members collaborated with bioengineers to publish a cutting-edge research development in Nature Medicine, demonstrating the successful creation and testing of an artificial human eye model (“eye-on-a-chip”) that can be used to study ocular diseases. 

Below, we also feature another cross-departmental project with David Brainard, PhD, Director of the Vision Research Center, whose R01 grant has led to important discoveries on color constancy. We are grateful to David for again submitting a renewal of his longstanding NIH P30 Core Grant, which enables ophthalmologists and vision scientists spanning many schools (School of Arts and Sciences, Dental School, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, School of Medicine) to share research modules and ideas across disciplines. It is this sharing of diverse experience that allows for leading-edge discoveries at the intersection of distinct fields of knowledge.

Major strides were also taken this year in pediatric ophthalmology, one of our seventeen ophthalmic specialties. In March, Robert Avery, DO, MSCE, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) received an NIH grant to study biomarkers of vision loss in children with optic pathway gliomas – one of the most common pediatric brain tumors. The Postnatal Growth and Retinopathy of Prematurity (G-ROP) study, led by Gil Binenbaum, MD, MSCE, and his team, also published promising results that demonstrate the sensitivity and specificity of a new model for predicting ROP in premature babies.
Our strong research foundation ensures that we provide the most advanced treatments to our patients. In 2019, our physicians saw more than 125,000 patient visits. We share the story of one of these patients below, whose vision was saved after being struck in the eye by a firework blast. We also answer common questions about LASIK eye surgery, an elective procedure performed by our cornea specialists, Stephen Orlin, MD, and Michael Sulewski, MD
Finally, we highlight our mission to provide care and support to underserved populations throughout Philadelphia and around the world. This mission is lived out each day by our faculty and staff members in many ways, such as hosting low vision device giveaways, or giving the first talk to the American Academy of Ophthalmology on caring for transgender patients (both highlighted below).
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the colleagues, trainees, alumni, patients, and friends who have made all of these accomplishments possible, and who together make the Scheie Eye Institute a remarkable place. 

I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season!

Joan O’Brien, MD

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