"RPB remains committed to fueling the vision research engine that we, in our earlier years, helped to build in departments of ophthalmology across the country," said Diane S. Swift, President, RPB. "Basic and clinical researchers, at every stage of their careers, continue to make significant inroads into the understanding, prevention, treatment and eventual cures of all diseases of the human visual system. Recent breakthroughs in uncovering the genetic origins and molecular mechanisms of vision loss give us all reason to hope that we can more effectively help the increasing number of people suffering from these conditions."
Across the nation, RPB-supported laboratories investigate the entire spectrum of eye disease, from cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy to macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and eye movement disorders. The 2005 RPB awards include research grants to departments of ophthalmology at 46 medical schools throughout the United States, plus individual awards such as the Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award, Research Professorships, and Senior Scientific Investigator, Physician-Scientist and Career Development Awards. A total of 174 individual ophthalmic scientists received RPB grant support in 2005. A total of 54 departments of ophthalmology at U.S. medical schools are currently receiving RPB support.
Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled more than $240 million to medical institutions throughout the United States. As a result, RPB has been identified with nearly every major breakthrough in eye research in that time, including the development of laser surgery now used to treat diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, myopia, retinal detachment and astigmatism.
RPB's comprehensive grants program operates with economy and efficiency. Historically, 81% of RPB expenditures have gone directly for eye research.