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UF department of ophthalmology receives grant for research on blinding diseases

The University of Florida department of ophthalmology has received a $110,000 grant from Research to Prevent Blindness to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of blinding eye diseases.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by Research to Prevent Blindness,” said Sonal Tuli, M.D., interim chair of the department of ophthalmology.

An unrestricted grant allows the chair to use the funding for broadly based support of the research activity in the department, meaning the funding does not have to be used for just one specific area. Tuli said she uses the money to help veteran researchers continue their investigations when they are in need of additional funds and to help the department’s young researchers initiate research endeavors.

Research to Prevent Blindness, the world's leading voluntary health organization supporting this type of research, has supported the UF Health department of ophthalmology at the University of Florida, College of Medicine for more than three decades with grants totaling over $4.2 million.

The funding from RPB helps support a major research focus of the department: the use of gene therapy to treat retinal degenerations.

“We have some of the best researchers in the world who are doing work in this area,” Tuli said. “This funding plays a crucial role in our research in this area so that we can continue to help people with vision-threatening disorders.”

The department has completed a successful clinical trial using gene therapy to treat a form of retinal degeneration and recently received a five-year, $8.4 million multicenter grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore the use of gene therapy in achromatopsia, a vision disorder that leaves people with no color perception, severely reduced vision and sensitivity to bright light.

Since it was founded in 1960, Research to Prevent Blindness has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States for research into blinding eye diseases. For information, visit http://www.rpbusa.org.

For media inquiries call Rossana Passaniti at 352-273-8569 or e-mail passar@shands.ufl.edu

About the Author

Melissa Blouin's picture

Melissa Blouin

Director of News and Publications / UF Health, the University of Florida Academic Health Center

Director of News and Publications for UF Health. Before joining UF Health staff in 2012, she was the senior director of academic communications for the University of Arkansas. She has 20 years... Read More

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