Public Release: 

Research to Prevent Blindness and American Academy of Ophthalmology announce new grant opportunities to support vision research

Partnership to utilize IRIS Registry database to advance patient care

American Academy of Ophthalmology

New Orleans - Nov. 11, 2017 -- Research to Prevent Blindness and the American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced that they have created a new category of grant to support researchers who want to use the Academy's IRIS® Registry database to conduct population-based studies in ophthalmology and blindness prevention. The grants will help clinical researchers leverage this unique, growing resource for the advancement of patient care.

Research to Prevent Blindness is a leading catalyst for research to eliminate blinding disease. The nonprofit organization is associated with nearly every major breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of vision loss that has occurred in the past 50 years.

The Research to Prevent Blindness/American Academy of Ophthalmology Award for IRIS Registry research will fund six studies over two years. Each grant of $35,000 will allow recipients to learn how to use the IRIS Registry's analytic capabilities. The IRIS Registry is now the world's largest specialty clinical database, having amassed data on 41.2 million patients. A subset of this massive database will be provided to recipients for analysis based on their study. Researchers will be required to submit their results for peer-reviewed publication no later than six months after analyses are performed.

"In a short amount of time, the IRIS Registry has become a sought-after tool for data analytics, producing insights into real-world practice patterns and clinical outcomes," said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "The next step is to develop opportunities for engaging clinical researchers to analyze this unique, growing resource to reveal patterns of disease, their determinants, and approaches to prevention and treatment that advance the ophthalmic profession to the benefit of our patients - present and future."

This award is open to individual researchers in ophthalmology, population health, epidemiology, and related fields at academic institutions, who are interested in vision research at a population level. The research question should be original and advance the Academy's mission to protect sight and empower lives. Applicants must have relevant analytics experience, such as a background in statistics or experience with big-data analytics.

The IRIS Registry Analytics Committee will review applications and select a slate of top-ranked nominees for RPB's esteemed Scientific Advisory Panel to review and select the final awardees. Selected investigators will be notified in July 2018. Researchers will begin their investigations shortly thereafter.

"We are thrilled to partner with the American Academy of Ophthalmology on this novel award, which gives researchers the power of big data to answer important questions about vision at the population level," said Brian F. Hofland, Ph.D., president of Research to Prevent Blindness. "RPB catalyzes innovation by supporting excellent research and the IRIS Registry's unique data offers a powerful resource to conduct new, important, and impactful vision research."

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The application process for the first round of three grants opens today and closes on Jan. 31, 2018. Applications are available online. Three additional grants will be awarded in 2019.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.

About Research to Prevent Blindness

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) is the leading nonprofit organization supporting eye research directed at the prevention, treatment, or eradication of all diseases that damage and destroy sight. As part of this purview, RPB also supports efforts to grow and sustain a robust and diverse vision research community. Since it was founded in 1960 by Dr. Jules Stein, RPB has awarded more than $349 million in research grants to the most talented vision scientists at the nation's leading medical schools. As a result, RPB has been associated with nearly every major breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of vision loss in the past 50 years. Learn more at http://www.rpbusa.org.

Contact:
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Media Relations
(415) 561-8534
media@aao.org

Research to Prevent Blindness
Diana Friedman
(212) 752-4333
dfriedman@rpbusa.org

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