Research to Prevent Blindness Celebrates 60th Anniversary

For the past 60 years, RPB has funded groundbreaking research to prevent, treat and cure all conditions that damage or destroy sight; today the organization pauses to reflect on its many sight-saving accomplishments.


Newswise — NEW YORK, NY, February 5, 2020 – Today, Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) celebrates the 60th anniversary of its incorporation by Dr. Jules Stein, an ophthalmologist turned successful businessman who believed that sight was a “magnificent gift” worth protecting. Since its founding on February 5, 1960, RPB has provided more than $373 million dollars in funding to hundreds of talented scientists at institutions across the United States. 

“Research to Prevent Blindness has always been laser-focused on our mission to prevent, treat and cure all conditions that damage or destroy sight. To accomplish this, we fund the best researchers, in the most effective labs, asking the most important questions. We are committed to helping everyone to see the future clearly for the next 60 years and beyond,” says RPB President Brian F. Hofland, PhD.

RPB provides crucial unrestricted institutional grants to leading ophthalmology departments; targeted individual grants for high-need areas of research; and investments in high-risk, high-reward research projects from experienced investigators.

RPB’s flagship grant program, the Career Development Award, supports gifted researchers as they are beginning their journey toward the world-changing discoveries of the future. In the past 30 years, CDA grantees, who are a veritable “Who’s Who” of vision science, have leveraged $40 million dollars of award money into more than $1 billion in follow-on funding from the NIH – an incredible 25 to 1 return on investment.

At any given time, hundreds of RPB-supported researchers at RPB-supported departments of ophthalmology around the country are working on research projects related to every area of vision science. As a result, every year, more than 1,000 newly published scientific studies cite RPB support.

RPB has become synonymous with scientific excellence within the field of vision research. From the very beginning, when RPB played an active role in the creation of the National Eye Institute, it has supported an amazing list of ground-breaking scientific accomplishments, and its influence is apparent in nearly every major breakthrough in eye care. Three RPB-supported researchers have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.