Keynote speakers aim to expand international collaborations invision research

April 30, 2006

In keeping with the theme, "Building International Collaborations,"as the focus of the 2006 Association for Research in Vision andOphthalmology (ARVO) meeting, two keynote speakers are doing theirpart to promote global partnerships in vision research.

In keeping with the theme, "Building International Collaborations," as the focus of the 2006 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting, two keynote speakers are doing their part to promote global partnerships in vision research.

Paul Sieving, MD, PhD, and Gullapalli N. Rao, MD, updated attendees on current efforts to reach this initiative during the ARVO/Alcon Keynote Session on Sunday evening.

The opportunities are as diverse as the membership of ARVO, said Dr. Sieving. As director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, Dr. Sieving has worked to increase numerous opportunities for international collaborations around the world. Research collaborations between the United States and India were encouraged through several workshops sponsored recently by ARVO and the NEI - resulting in the United States-India Statement of Intent for Collaboration on Expansion of Vision Research. In addition, Dr. Sieving convened an NEI-sponsored workshop in April on collaborative international research opportunities.

"The global context is evolving rapidly," Dr. Sieving said. "Rapid travel and ease of communication will benefit the entire world population. I encourage you all to join this exciting global opportunity."

Dr. Rao also fosters collaboration between the United States and India as president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and chairman of the board for the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India. In addition, he spearheads a worldwide initiative called "Vision 2020: The Right to Sight" to eradicate avoidable blindness by 2020.

Three steps are key to the elimination of unnecessary blindness, Dr. Rao said.

"Control all diseases that contribute to it, develop the necessary human resources, and develop the necessary infrastructure," he said.

During the keynote session, two distinguished service awards were presented to retiring ARVO officers Gary W. Abrams, MD, Wayne State University, Kresge Eye Institute, Detroit; and Thomas Yorio, PhD, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth.

The keynote session was made possible through a grant from Alcon Laboratories to The ARVO Foundation for Eye Research.