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Ophthalmology Development



Giving to the Scheie Eye Institute

Scheie Eye Institute has a history of success

Since its founding more than 125 years ago, the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania has been at the forefront of ophthalmic advancement.

The Department was one of the first in the country to master the ophthalmoscope and use refractions to correct vision. Early chairs of the department established standards for ophthalmic care, founded essential ophthalmic organizations, such as the American Board of Ophthalmology, and invented instruments and procedures to diagnosis and treat critical eye conditions. Just a few years ago, Scheie became the first department in the country to use gene therapy to restore vision to patients with congenital retinal blindness.

Corey Haas- Before Gene Therapy Injection               Corey Haas- After Gene Therapy Injection


Scheie progress is outpacing funding

Scheie Eye Institute is one of the premier teaching, research, and patient care departments in the country. With more than 60 physicians and scientists, Scheie has the depth and breadth necessary to research leading causes of vision loss, diagnose and treat a variety of eye conditions, and educate future ophthalmologists and vision scientists.

For years our momentum has been building, and now the progress of our scientists is outpacing funding. Much of our research, such as the Gene Therapy Program, is not being done anywhere else in the world.

Government grants do not fund some of the most important research

Among 125 ophthalmology departments in the United States, Scheie currently ranks #1 in funding from the National Eye Institute. However, government grants are limited in their reach. They do not cover pilot studies conducted by scientists pursuing promising new research ideas, nor do they pay for laboratories and equipment needed for research.

Some of our most important breakthroughs have come through high-risk, high-reward research, but the government is often reluctant to fund these kinds of studies. The urgent health issues facing us today require aggressive research, and private funding allows us to work at the cutting edge of our field.