By Nora Laberee
Scheie Vision Annual Report 2018
The Macula Vision Research Foundation (MVRF) recently found a new home at the Scheie Eye Institute of the University of Pennsylvania.
MVRF was established in 1997 by Karen and Herbert Lotman, after a close family member was diagnosed with macular degeneration, an eye condition that causes retinal deterioration and vision loss. Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision impairment in the United States for those of age 65 years or older. Mrs. Lotman and the late Mr. Lotman were inspired to start the foundation to help find a cure for macular degeneration, while supporting and helping people with the condition.
MVRF has had close ties with Scheie from the start, so it was a clear choice to team up with Scheie to find a cure for macular degeneration. In June 2018, MVRF established the Karen and Herbert Lotman Fund of the Macula Vision Research Foundation of the University of Pennsylvania Scheie Eye Institute. The establishment of this fund allocates the information and resources associated with MVRF and its donors, as well as $2.3 million, to Scheie.
Through this new fund, all charitable donations to MVRF will fund vital vision research projects being conducted by scientists at Scheie. Funds from MVRF will be directed to a variety of research efforts, including the study of macular degeneration, and another major area of developing research, gene therapy.
MVRF has generously supported research that led to the development of the sight-saving gene therapy LUXTURNA. This therapy treats Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a retinal degenerative disease that leads to blindness. This represents the first gene therapy for an inherited disease to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“The Lotmans have been instrumental in helping us make major breakthroughs in vision research,” said Joan O’Brien, Chairman of the Ophthalmology Department at the University of Pennsylvania. This fund will support crucial vision research and discovery, with implications here at Scheie and far beyond.