September 22, 1997

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 - sgoodwi@emory.edu
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 - covnic@emory.edu

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) recently awarded Scott R. Lambert, M.D., director of Pediatric Ophthalmology at the Emory Eye Center, with the RPB Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award and a $50,000 grant for his research efforts. Dr. Lambert is one of 23 scientists at 15 institutions honored this year with RPB's merit award. The RPB established the awards program in 1985 to provide unrestricted support to physicians and scientists who are actively engaged in eye research.

"Dr. Lambert is one of a handful of researchers in the country conducting important laboratory and clinical research to improve current treatments for children with cataracts," said Thomas M. Aaberg, Sr., M.D., director of the Emory Eye Center. "This award recognizes his significant contributions to the field of pediatric ophthalmology and the grant will augment his research."

Dr. Lambert is conducting pioneering research on treating childhood cataracts with intraocular lenses (IOLs). Cataracts, a clouding of the eye's lens, are often treated by removing the child's natural lens and replacing it with an IOL to improve the eye's focusing power. One problem with implanting IOLs in children is their eyes grow as they age. Dr. Lambert is researching improved lenses that one day may help tackle the problem.

In a second award, the RPB provided the Eye Center with a $100,000 unrestricted grant to support scientific investigations into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases.

"The RPB unrestricted grant is vital to our ongoing research," said Dr. Aaberg. "The funding helps fill in the gaps after federal or private grants lapse and before new funding is obtained. It also helps us purchase necessary laboratory equipment not covered by these grants."

Since 1960, RPB has channeled more than $144 million to medical institutions for research. The organization has awarded Emory $1,552,600 in funding over the years. RPB is the world's leading voluntary organization supporting eye research.

The Emory Eye Center is one of the most highly funded eye research facilities in the U.S. and is one of the top ten National Institutes of Health-funded eye centers. It is the third leading eye center in the country for the number of ophthalmology clinical trials. Among some of the more important work conducted at Emory is research into the causes, diagnosis and prevention of retinal diseases, cataracts, glaucoma and children's inherited eye diseases.

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences News and Information at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to hsnews@emory.edu.

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