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Dr. Valerie Wallace and Dr. Robert Devenyi
Every 12 minutes, someone in Canada joins the list of the visually impaired. The total number of people living with significant vision issues now tops 500,000 – and it continues to grow, thanks in part to our aging population.
So chances are, if you live in Canada, you know someone struggling with vision issues. In addition to blindness, vision impairment can cause a host of other problems, from loss of sharpness or clarity of vision to a narrowed visual field or a loss of depth perception. People experiencing these problems may be living with any one of a number of diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa.
At the Krembil Research Institute, we are determined to unlock the secrets of these diseases. In recent years, we've assembled a top-notch team of research scientists who are committed to finding answers to fundamental questions about the retina, the brain and disease function.
Many of the causes of these diseases remain unknown. But what is known is that living with these conditions can affect a person's family life and relationships, their finances and mental health, but most of all, vision loss can have a negative impact on an individual's overall quality of life. That's why it's essential for us to make a long-term commitment to high-calibre basic research. We were fortunate to receive a tremendously generous philanthropic gift in 2015, which led to the establishment of the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute in 2016. In less than a year, this entity – the largest vision program in Canada – has already helped foster a culture of collaboration between our clinicians and our vision scientists.
When it comes to finding a cure to these conditions, no one lab can do so on its own. It will take many incremental discoveries over a number of years. But gifts like this – and the many others that come from the community – allow us to recruit some of the brightest minds in the field, carve out a unique and diverse culture and move closer to our collective goal of becoming one of the top five vision institutions in the world.
In the pages to come, you will read about the significant advancements our scientists have made in recent years, and the new frontiers we are exploring to diagnose diseases of the eye and restore vision. If you care about joining the search for answers about how the eye works, then we are more than happy to have you on our team. In the end, that's the only way these problems get solved – by supporting innovative research pursuits like those currently underway at Krembil.
Dr. Valerie WallaceCo-Director, Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute; Senior Scientist, Krembil Research Institute;Donald K. Johnson Chair in Vision Research
Dr. Robert DevenyiCo-Director, Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute;Clinician Investigator, Krembil Research Institute;Karen and William Barnett Chair in Ophthalmology