A New Vision for Pittsburgh

By the year 2050, with the world’s population increasing and aging, the number of people living with visual impairments will triple, from 200 to 600 million. The five eye conditions that pose the greatest threats to our vision are age-related macular degeneration, myopia (nearsightedness), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and corneal blindness.

Under the leadership of Dr. José-Alain Sahel, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the plan is to expand and nurture our clinical and research teams to directly address unmet needs in patient care. By leveraging collaborations with our partners at the Institut de la Vision in Paris, founded by Dr. Sahel, we have a unique opportunity to build and expand our research capabilities to innovate patient-centered technologies.

With your support, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine will lead the world in research and care for patients affected by vision loss and blindness. Donations are critical in advancing our research. Your generosity paves the way for life-changing care for people suffering from diseases and disorders of the eye. Every level of support is important and enables our scientists to work on projects such as:

Diseases of the retina, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, result in the loss of retinal cells and retinal function. By studying diseases of the retina, our scientists gain knowledge on the pathology to develop approaches to slow or stop retinal disease progression. This will enable our scientists to develop effective approaches to preserve retinal function, or restore it when combined with regenerative approaches.
PROSTHETICSRetinal prosthetics will benefit patients with retinitis pigmentosa. We are testing a novel type of wireless retinal prosthesis developed in collaboration with the Institut de la Vision in Paris and Stanford University, now in clinical trials for the first time, both in Pittsburgh and Paris. Dr. Sahel and his researchers plan to continuously improve these first implant chips to effectively discern finer detail.
Using a delivery system referred to as a viral vector, our scientists can deliver a copy of a gene to replace the one that is not working properly, or to deliver a therapeutic gene that will bring new functionality to the retina. Also, the development of tools for directly editing the genome, such as CRISPR/Cas9, has opened new avenues for treatment of many forms of inherited retinal disease.
Using the regenerative properties of stem cells to treat corneal damage, our scientists are working to better understand how the use of corneal stem cells can provide a better treatment outcome. This area of research holds much promise for the development of less‐invasive procedures to treat common ocular diseases.
Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration
Our long‐term goal is to develop clinically relevant therapies to positively modulate the default healing response in the central nervous system, with an emphasis on the optic nerve. We aim to develop validated strategies to regenerate the optic nerve and reconnect the eye and the brain.