Progress Through Philanthropy
The sight-saving work of Wills Eye Hospital’s latest addition: the Vickie and Jack Farber Vision Research Center
Phoebe Harkin | | Quick Read
The result of a US$7 million gift, the Vickie and Jack Farber Vision Research Center was created with the singular focus of shaping the future of ophthalmology. “Wills Eye is a great institution with incredibly talented people who are committed to advancing scientific knowledge. If you put those energies together with financial support to accelerate the rate of progress, you truly make a difference in patients’ lives,” said Jack Farber (1).
The Center is focusing its attention on clinical, translational and community-based research, including access to care and clinical trials. Leslie G. Hyman, an ocular epidemiologist and Vice-Chair for Research at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, is leading the Center. “As one of the Data Analytic Teams selected by the AAO to have access to the IRIS Registry, the Center has recently launched an Ophthalmology Informatics Program to use big data to improve understanding of disease and treatment patterns for different eye conditions, as well as examine outcomes of different surgical procedures among different populations,” explains Hyman.
The team is currently working on a project to estimate prevalence and associated factors of thyroid eye disease (TED), a rare disfiguring, autoimmune inflammatory disease with limited treatment options. “Studies of TED have been confined in scope and size to select geographic regions due to its relatively low frequency, raising questions about the generalizability of the findings,” says Hyman. “Results from this project will be the largest report from a national database to provide data on TED prevalence and associated factors and will provide important guidance to physicians for counseling and management of these patients.”
This project is the first of a number of planned analyses to answer critical questions on practice patterns and treatment outcomes that can help shape clinical decisions across a wide range of conditions in ophthalmology. Hyman is bold about the potential impact of the Center’s work: “Through collaboration and innovation, we are working together to develop preventive strategies and cures for patients in the US – and around the world.”
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