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Tuesday, September 21, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 21

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Grant will aid research in retinal repair

By J.R. Gonzales
Daily Cougar Staff 

Thanks to a $10,000 grant awarded in June by the Lions Eye Bank Foundation, David Sherry of the UH College of Optometry will continue working to find ways to restore vision to those suffering from retinal problems.

In the realm of grants awarded for projects like these, $10,000 isn't a spectacular amount. But Sherry said any little bit helps.

"This is a small one, just sort of to help the project get going," said Sherry, an assistant professor at the college. "And it's providing money for supplies that we need."

His project examines the survival and growth of retinal photoreceptor cells. These cells play an integral role in how people form visual images. Over time, hereditary diseases or complications caused by other diseases can cause the photoreceptors to die, leading to vision loss.

Sherry said more than 100,000 Americans have degenerative retinal diseases.

"The visual deficits from these diseases are permanent because the photoreceptors aren't replaced," Sherry said. "And right now, there are really no effective therapies for somebody who's actually suffered a visual loss."


 
 
 


David Sherry of the UH College of Optometry will use a $10,000 grant from the Lions eye Bank foundation to continue research on repairing retina damage that leas to vision loss.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

A retinal transplant is one possible solution to restoring vision, but so far the results have not yielded any breakthroughs in that field. The lack of significant findings has not deterred Sherry, however.

"If work like this doesn't get done, the chances that transplants will ever work is very slim," he said. "So basically, what we're working on is, we're looking at the fundamental biological processes that regulate regeneration by nerve cells.

"Even if we don't identify factors real quickly -- the next few months or the next few years -- the information we're going to get about how these things grow is going to be very useful in and of itself," Sherry said.

Aside from providing funds for research purposes, the Lions Eye Bank Foundation donates corneas and other essential areas of the eye needed for medical procedures.

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