Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute Researcher Receives Grant for Research into Childhood Vision Loss

June 11, 2013

BOSTON (June 11, 2013) - Matthew Bronstad, Ph.D., a research associate at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute and an instructor in ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, was recently awarded a $60,000 grant from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation to conduct research into vision loss in children.

Dr. Bronstad’s research project is entitled, “Is anomalous retinal correspondence compensatory to hemianopia and can it be reinstated after strabismus surgery?”

Hemianopia is loss of one half of the visual field in both eyes. In children, this may be caused by head trauma, brain tumor or stroke. Curiously, strabismus, or mis-alignment of the eyes, co-occurs with hemianopia more commonly than expected in children. It is possible that strabismus develops to compensate for hemianopia, if the deviating eye points into the area of field loss, this may expand a child’s visual field.

However, it isn’t known whether the expanded visual field offers any advantage, as the dominant eye tends to suppress the misaligned eye in strabismus. If the expansion is useful, then there is a difficult trade-off between the usefulness of visual field expansion for mobility and the many benefits of having the eyes aligned surgically. The ultimate goal of the research project is to provide postsurgical optical correction to reinstate their former field expansion while preserving the appearance of straightened eyes.

Dr. Bronstad was presented with a check by the local Knights Templar representatives on May 31 at a ceremony in the Schepens Eye Research Institute Library.

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., was founded in 1956, and since its inception, they have generously given over $135 million for ophthalmic research, patient care and education. Each year, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc. invites eligible investigators to submit proposals for pediatric ophthalmological research. The foundation is committed to support careers of basic and clinical researchers who work on conditions that may prevent or cure potentially blinding diseases.

About Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. After uniting with Schepens Eye Research Institute Mass. Eye and Ear in Boston became the world's largest vision and hearing research center, offering hope and healing to patients everywhere through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships. Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals Survey” has consistently ranked the Mass. Eye and Ear Departments of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology as top five in the nation.