Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO – Sept. 11, 2019 – The American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced recipients of analytic programs from two funds developed to advance big data investigations of eye disease: the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. Pediatric Ophthalmology Fund and The H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, Center for Quality Eye Care IRIS® Registry Research Fund.

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation Pediatric Ophthalmology Fund supports big data analyses investigating both rare and common eye diseases affecting children to uncover optimal, real-world approaches to prevention and treatment. The H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, fund supports Academy members in private practice who want to answer clinical questions that can help improve patient care.

The goal of both funds is to support Academy members in private practice who want to harness the power of the Academy’s IRIS® Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight) to advance patient care. The IRIS Registry is the world’s largest clinical specialty data registry, having amassed data on 60 million patients in just five years. The Academy developed the IRIS Registry to provide insights on eye disease, and to empower ophthalmologists to effectively improve their practices and their patients’ lives.

Winners of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. Pediatric Fund are:

  • Ravi Parikh, M.D., Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants. The smaller a baby is at birth, the more likely that baby is to develop ROP. It is one of the most common causes of vision loss in childhood. There are typically two treatment options: laser treatment or an injection of medication into the eye. Dr. Parikh will use IRIS Registry data to determine if one treatment is prescribed more than the other, whether one treatment outperforms the other, and whether a baby is more likely to receive one treatment over the other based on demographics.
  • Avni P. Finn, M.D., MBA, Northern California Retina Vitreous Association. Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) is an abnormal growth of blood vessels at the back of the eye that can cause blindness. Though it can strike adults and children, it’s incredibly rare in children. The causes of CNV are also different in children. Dr. Finn will use IRIS Registry data to better understand why it happens in children, identify the most common treatments used, and which treatments are most effective in children.
  • Peter J. Belin, M.D., VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA. A retinal detachment is an emergency. It happens when a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye (the retina) pulls away from its normal position. The longer a retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater the risk of permanent vision loss. Most retinal detachments occur in adults, but it can also happen in children. And when it does, it’s more complicated and often requires multiple surgeries for successful treatment. Belin will use the IRIS Registry to identify the best surgical approach to reattach the retina, based on what caused the detachment.

Winners of The H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, Center for Quality Eye Care IRIS® Registry Research Fund are:

  • Rahul Khurana, M.D., Northern California Retina Associates. New treatment options for age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy have saved millions of Americans from blindness. But millions more are at risk of losing their vision to these two devastating conditions because they don’t return to their ophthalmologists for follow-up treatment. Dr. Khurana will use IRIS Registry data to identify risk factors that contribute to patients’ failure to return to their ophthalmologist for follow-up care.
  • Wilkin Parke III, M.D., VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA. There are three surgical options for treating the most common type of retinal detachment, rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. But only one, pneumatic retinopexy, is performed in the ophthalmologist’s office. It has several advantages: it’s more comfortable for the patient, recovery is quicker, and it’s less expensive. While clinical trials show this technique is effective, physicians have been slow to adopt it. Dr. Parke will use IRIS Registry data to describe the real-world outcomes of pneumatic retinopexy and to identify which patients are best suited for this type of surgery.
  • Sudeep Pramanik, M.D., Mid Atlantic Cornea Consultants, clinical associate professor of Ophthalmology, University of Maryland. In the last decade, endothelial keratoplasty has become the most common type of corneal transplant surgery performed in the US. But the last, large database study evaluating this type of surgery is outdated, having looked at data from 2001 to 2009. Dr. Pramanik will use IRIS Registry data to evaluate the real-world indications and outcomes of this common procedure, which could potentially lead to even better results for patients.
  • Raj Maturi, M.D., Midwest Eye Institute, associate professor of Ophthalmology, Indiana University School of Medicine. Treatment options for patients with diabetic macular edema have expanded recently. Many patients get more than one type of treatment to get the best results. Dr. Maturi will use IRIS Registry data to determine if physicians throughout the country are using all the treatment options available to improve outcomes for their patients. Additionally, Dr. Maturi will investigate whether patients who don’t smoke respond better to treatment compared with patients who do smoke.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit