Newswise — The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)has awarded an additional 59 travel grants to help student/trainee members attend the 2015 Annual Meeting, thanks to a first-time grant to the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. (KTEF).

The grant helped ARVO and the ARVO Foundation increase the travel grant program by nearly 25%, for a total of nearly 300 grants this year.

Although it does not claim a direct link to the medieval order, the Knights Templar is an international Christian Masonic fraternity based on the 12th century organization. Today, KTEF is one of its chief charitable arms, with a mission statement “to improve vision through research, education, and supporting access to care.” To date, KTEF has expended more than $143 million in support of this mission, with $25 million going directly to researchers working in the fields of pediatric ophthalmology and ophthalmic genetics.

Duane L. Vaught, KTEF vice president, chairman of its Scientific Advisory Committee and Right Eminent Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, explains: “For more than half a century, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation has funded research grants with a goal of improving and preserving vision.

“As our foundation has grown since our 1955 inception, we have expanded the number and size of our grants, and we have commenced new initiatives in ophthalmology research and education. Our research grants are targeted to new research by those in the early stages of their careers.

“This year, we are excited to commence funding travel grants for ARVO. We believe this is an ideal expansion of our funding concept. By stretching out a helping hand to those starting their careers, we hope to encourage and expedite successful careers advancing the cause of vision.”

For some ARVO members, travel grants make all the difference in whether they can attend the Annual Meeting in Denver, May 3 – 7, to present their research.

“I am very honored to receive a Knights Templar travel grant; this means a lot to me,” says KTEF Travel Grant recipient Chenxi Yan, a research assistant at Wayne State University’s Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit.

“Attending the ARVO Annual Meeting will enhance my understanding about ophthalmology and visual science, and it's a great opportunity to meet other scientists.”

“The ability to attend the ARVO Annual Meeting can significantly enhance a young researcher’s passion and career in vision research,” adds Paul Lee, MD, JD, chair of the Board of Governors of the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research, to which KTEF made the grant.

“This meeting brings together the top vision scientists from around the world and provides wonderful opportunities to learn and to meet potential mentors and collaborators. The ARVO meeting is often a catalyst in helping our young scientists achieve their goals and ultimately, advance science and to help treat those with vision disorders.

“Now, thanks to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, we have been able to dramatically increase the number of travel grants we can offer our student and trainee members in 2015. We truly appreciate this support.”


The Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include nearly 12,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders.

The ARVO Foundation for Eye Research works to:

Promote scientific interactions and exchange between basic scientists and clinicians.Foster translational research and move forward proven scientific, breakthroughs from the laboratory to clinical practice.Recruit and retain scientists in all fields of vision research.Disseminate scientific research findings.

Visit us at:Website: Twitter:!/ARVOinfoFacebook: