Holland Foundation for Sight Restoration launched to provide life-changing eye surgeries

This announcement was made at the 2021 ASCRS annual meeting.

Source: Holland Foundation for Sight Restoration

LAS VEGAS – Edward Holland, MD, today announced the launch of the Holland Foundation for Site Restoration with a goal of establishing Centers of Excellence (COEs) throughout the country that would specialize in site restoration procedures.

The Holland Foundation is the only foundation created to address the significant unmet medical need of corneal transplantation for patients who have severe ocular surface disease while enabling surgeons the resources to provide the treatment across the country, according to a news release.

It is estimated that 60,000 people are born with birth defects that cause progressive blindness due to ocular surface failure. Another 100,000 people will have a chemical or thermal accident each year that impairs their sight.

Because corneal blindness results from severe ocular surface disease in which routine corneal transplantation is not effective, an opportunity exists for patients to regain their vision with ocular surface stem cell transplantation, also known as The Cincinnati Technique™.

"We specialize in patients that have injuries like acid or alkaline injuries, or chronic, severe medical problems that cause them to scar the surface of the eye," said Edward Holland, MD, director of Cornea Services at Cincinnati Eye Institute and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati, in the release.

"The most severe patients end up with loss of the skin-producing stem cells called the limbal stem cells, which results in corneal scaring and then, unfortunately, severe blindness," he said. "To treat these patients, we transplant the specialized surface cells of the eye from a relative or a deceased donor. Patients then require oral antirejection medications similar to organ transplant patients."

But most potential patients do not have access to effective treatment, so ocular surface stem cell transplantation surgeries are rarely performed.

The nonprofit foundation will fund additional locations, training and support for those who cannot afford treatment in order to ensure patients across the country have access.

Ultimately, COE's are envisioned in selected cities and regions of the country - Southern California, Minnesota, Virginia, Texas, Massachusetts and New York.

Each COE will specialize in sight restoration procedures and each will be in proximity to existing networks of nephrologists and other appropriate specialists.

"Ed Holland is one of the only doctors that does this particular technique," said Foundation Board Chairman Robert Dempsey, in the news release. "Supporters of the Foundation have the opportunity to make a difference - to give the gift of sight to patients who without the financial resources of the Foundation will live a life in which they are blind."

The foundation will provide “tool kits” to physicians across the country to implement the protocols and approach that the nonprofit's team have created in Cincinnati.

The Holland Foundation for the Restoration of Sight will:

  • Provide support and clinical care for patients with severe ocular surface disease throughout the nation.
  • Increase access to Ocular Surface Transplantation and the necessary follow up care to restore sight to those in need.
  • Educate clinicians on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with severe ocular surface disease.
  • Train clinicians on how to build a regional Ocular Surface Transplantation Center and create the infrastructure needed to perform the Ocular Surface Transplantation surgery and the necessary follow up care for successful long-term prognosis.