The Visionary - page 4

Our Commitment
to the Future
For many organizations, you reach
a crossroad where you keep
doing what you do well or you
venture into the unknown.
That crossroad came to our
organization just a few years back.
Lions Eye Institute Newsletter
Jason K. Woody
President / CEO
inceour inception in1973,wehave
brought the gift of sight to more
than 60,000 men, women and
children around the world. Many
would recognize this as a monumental
accomplishment and rest knowing they
have helped many in need
At the Lions Eye Institute (LEITR),
we are committed to making a difference
not just locally, but globally, and not just
for the present, but for the future as well.
Our board of directors asked a very simple
question: “Canwe helpmore thanwe help
now?”The answer was a resounding “yes,”
but it would take a leap of faith for us to
make that transition.
The first step was developing a world-
class research advisory board representing
research on all components of the eye. We
then built a 12,000-square-foot research
facility, bringing our total footprint to
almost 50,000 square feet. Annually, we
recover nearly 4,000 eyes, giving us the
ability to be one of the largest providers
of research tissue in the world. Finally, we
hired a scientific director, a Ph.D. with 25
years in the pharmaceutical industry, who
began his work with us in September.
The number of Americans with
blindness, low vision or an age-related
eye disease is projected to grow to an
estimated 50 million people by 2020.
These individuals are also projected to
live longer, experiencing the effects of
their vision loss for many years, while
the cost of treatment is rising dramatically.
Projections of future economic impacts are
scarce; however, Prevent Blindness
America estimated that the economic
burden of vision loss in the U.S. was
$139 billion in 2013. Unless research and
innovation provide relief, the increase in
these numbers will surely be proportional
to the rise in the prevalence of blinding
eye diseases.
As you can see our model is
changing…no longer just focused on the
transplant patients, we nowwill offer hope
to millions around the world through
invaluable research. 2014 promises to
be year in which our journey towards
research innovation gains increasing
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