University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Nathan E. Miles Chair of Ophthalmology, has been awarded the Oberdorfer Award in Low Vision Research for 2019.Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., professor at the
Owsley’s research focuses on the impact of aging on vision. Studies address why some older adults in normal macular health transition to age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults in the United States. Owsley’s research also addresses the relationship between vision and driving and strategies that can improve routine eye care access and utilization among older adults at risk for eye disease and vision impairment.
One of her most recent breakthroughs, in collaboration with Christine Curcio, Ph.D., of the UAB Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Robert Mullins, Ph.D., and Edwin Stone, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Iowa, is a study establishing that older adults having a slowed ability to adapt to darkness are also more likely to have high-risk AMD genetic polymorphisms at chromosome 1 and chromosome 10.
“I am honored and humbled to be the recipient of the Oberdorfer Award,” Owsley said. “Over the years, I have been very grateful for funding support from NIH, CDC and the private sector, which has made my research on irreversible vision impairment possible. Thank you very much to the ARVO Foundation for this recognition.”
The Oberdorfer Award in Low Vision Research was created in 2012 by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Foundation for Eye Research with support from Lighthouse Guild. The award recognizes an individual for his or her role in furthering low-vision research and rehabilitation. It was inspired by the seminal contributions of Michael D. Oberdorfer, Ph.D., in support of low-vision research. Oberdorfer served for many years at the National Eye Institute as director of Strabismus, Amblyopia and Visual Processing and director of Low Vision and Blindness Rehabilitation for the NEI Extramural Research Program. His support of low-vision research led to an expansion of funded grants in that field.