News Release 

Champalimaud Vision Award: Recognizing institutions combating blindness in Brazil

The world's largest Award in the field of vision, worth €1 million, recognizes the unique work of three Brazilian institutions in the fight against blindness


4 September 2019 - Lisbon, Portugal - The 2019 António Champalimaud Vision Award is presented to the Instituto da Visão - IPEPO, the Altino Ventura Foundation and the UNICAMP Ophthalmology Service, three organizations that support ophthalmology and the prevention of blindness in Brazil.

From large cities to the most remote indigenous communities in Amazonia, these institutions have fought a relentless war for light, life and human dignity. Working separately, each of them has spent decades helping those in need all over the country, using high-quality clinical services and telemedicine.

The Instituto de Visão - IPEPO has helped more than 2 million people with its pioneering clinical services, supported by research and education programmes; the Altino Ventura Foundation works tirelessly in one of the poorest regions of South America to combat blindness through high-quality ophthalmology, science and education; the UNICAMP Ophthalmology Service began a revolution of South American ophthalmological services in the 1980s, with the continent's first cataract-free-zone project.

The work of these organizations has brought light to millions of people without access to medical care. In São Paulo and other major urban centers, extreme poverty leads to serious visual impairments for millions of people. In Amazonia and rural areas of Brazil, economic and social conditions, as well as the climate, also cause serious vision problems and disease.

The 2019 António Champalimaud Vision Award recognizes the excellent work of the three institutions whose professionals and volunteers have worked, often at their own personal risk, showing extreme courage to bring light to those who cannot see. They are the real soldiers in the war against blindness.

About the António Champalimaud Vision Award

The António Champalimaud Vision Award was launched in 2006 with the support of the "2020 - the Right to Sight" program of the World Health Organisation. It is the biggest award in the world in this field, with a value of 1 million euros.

In 'odd' years (2015, 2017, 2019 etc.), the Award recognizes work developed in the field by institutions in the prevention of and fight against blindness and ophthalmological diseases, particularly in developing countries. In 'even' years (2014, 2016, 2018 etc.), the award distinguishes far-reaching scientific research in the area of vision. In 2007, the Vision Award was presented to the Aravind Eye Care System, India, and in 2008 it was given jointly to the laboratories of King-Wai Yau and Jeremy Nathans, of Johns Hopkins University; Helen Keller International won the 2009 edition, while in 2010 the winners were Anthony Movshon (New York University) and William T. Newsome (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Stanford University); in 2011 the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) won; in 2012 the Award was attributed to two groups of scientists: James Fujimoto, David Huang, Carmen Puliafito, Joel Schuman and Eric Swanson and David R. Williams; in 2013 four Nepalese institutions won: Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, Nepal Netra Jyoti Sang (NNJS), Eastern Regional Eye Care Programme (Sagamartha Choudhary Eye Hospital and Biratnagar Eye Hospital) and Lumbini Eye Institute; in 2014 the Award went to seven scientists: Napoleone Ferrara, Joan W. Miller, Evangelos S. Gragoudas, Patricia A. D'Amore, Anthony P. Adamis, George L. King and Lloyd Paul Aiello; in 2015 three institutions operating in Sub-Saharan Africa were awarded: Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Opththalmology, Seva Foundation and Seva Canada. In 2016, four scientists received the Award: Christine Holt, Carol Mason, John Flanagan and Carla Shatz and in 2017, the award was given to two institutions working on preventing blindness in poorer countries, Sightsavers and CBM. In 2018, the winners were Michael Redmond and research teams led by Jean Bennett and Albert Maguire; Robin Ali and James Bainbridge; Samuel Jacobson and William Hauswirth.


The jury of the Award is made up of international scientists and prominent public figures involved in the fight against the problems facing those who live in developing countries: Alfred Sommer, Amartya Sen, Paul Sieving, Jacques Delors, Graça Machel, Gullapalli Rao, José Cunha-Vaz, Carla Shatz, Joshua Sanes, Mark Bear and Susumu Tonegawa.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.