JAN 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

Issue link: https://digital.eyeworld.org/i/104833

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Page 17 of 70

January 2013 EW NEWS & OPINION 15 ASCRS update 2013 ASCRS Foundation research grant applications now being accepted T he ASCRS Foundation has awarded more than $450,000 in research grants—many to residents and young ophthalmologists. This year, 10 $5,000 grants will be awarded to researchers working on innovative ways to tackle some of ophthalmology's most challenging issues and treatment options. Applications, which can be submitted online at www.ascrsfoundation.org, will be accepted until Jan. 31. ASCRS was founded by young, enterprising ophthalmologists, and the Foundation's grant program is a way to carry on that tradition by furthering research into all areas of eye disease and treatment with firststep seed money. The program is open to practicing ophthalmologists and those in training. Recent grant recipients include Matthew Weiss, M.D., a third-year resident at Bascom Palmer in Miami, who is seeking to improve the use of animal models to provide treatment for a potentially devastating eye condition called epithelial downgrowth, a very rare condition in which tissue from the ocular surface is deposited inside the eye through trauma or surgery. The effects of this condition generally require drastic surgical measures to avoid loss of vision or even the eye itself. Since the condition is uncommon, it has received little attention in professional literature, leaving only a few impractical animal models to explore more modern treatments for this disorder. "I am attempting to create a novel animal model for epithelial downgrowth by introducing cells cultured from the ocular surface directly into the eyes of rats," Dr. Weiss said. "Their eyes will be examined using a variety of techniques at predetermined intervals to assess the viability of the cells within the eyes." Such treatments could become vital in the future since recent literature reports that the incidence of epithelial downgrowth is on the rise following the introduction of new corneal transplant techniques such as Descemet's stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK). The ASCRS Foundation has been awarding grants since 2003, and grant recipients report their results to the ASCRS membership in the form by Cindy Sebrell ASCRS•ASOA Director of Public Affairs of a paper or poster at the ASCRS• ASOA Symposium & Congress. In addition to the research grant program, the ASCRS Foundation makes 10 $1,000 awards each year to enable ophthalmology residents exhibiting exemplary performance to attend the ASCRS meeting. The categories for consideration include research, patient care, leadership, and education. The 2013 Resident Excellence Award includes: • A $1,000 grant to fund travel to the ASCRS•ASOA Symposium & continued on page 17

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