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I have been advised by the chairman of our scientific advisory board, who was one of the pioneers in the use of these hormones in ophthalmology that the Federal Government had appropriated some $2 million for research study in ACTH and cortisone, of which probably less than $50,000 was used for research in the application of these hormones in eye disease, as a consequence of which thousands of eyes have already been saved from blindness. Without this Federal grant it is doubtful that this important scientific study would have gone forward as it had. Thanks to Federal aid, we are now on the road to the successful treatment of certain inflammatory diseases of the eye which have been responsible for about 25 percent of all blindness.
Another manifestation of the power of research are reports reaching us currently that a new lead may disclose the cause of the blindness attacking infants born prematurely. These reports, of course, have to await confirmation before they can be accepted as definite. If it is proven however that the cause of this terrible blinding disease has at last been discovered, it will be another testimonial to the value of organized research since the thousands of dollars which have been expended in searching for the cause of retrolental fibroplasia will be repaid by millions of dollars saved in the rehabilitation of such unfortunate infants.
However, the unsolved problems in the field of eye diseases remain many— cataract, glaucoma, optic atrophy, detachment of the retina, certain corneal opacities, retinitis pigmentosa-are but a few for which cause and adequate treatment are unknown to science. The specialty of ophthalmology is young, and the ground is fertile for pioneering effort. The unexplored areas are awaiting the initiative and genius of our modern scientists. Those who wish to delve into these unknown fields for the benefit of mankind must be encouraged with adequate financial support, facilities, and equipment. It would be unjust and a tragedy unnecessarily perpetrated on countless thousands to deny this support.
The dearth of dollars must not be allowed to stand as a barrier to progress which can mean hope in place of despair, sight instead of blindness.
I repeat, the voluntary agency cannot yet assume this enormous responsibility alone. It can only be met with Federal aid.
Gentlemen, before I conclude and with your permission I should like to be subjective for a few moments. To date I have lost 98 percent of my sight and although I classify myself—and I do this in all modesty-with that group of visually handicapped persons who has been able to make a reasonable adjustment to blindness, carry on a productive life and one in which there is social acceptance. I wish to go on record as saying that there is no substitute for sight nor are there any compensations for the loss of it. I know that I reflect the feeling of the many thousands who, like me, must live in darkness, when I say that there is nothing that anyone so fated, wants more, than the ability to see.
If I had been able to reach you at all in my plea for continuing and more commensurate Federal aid to eye research-aid which can mean that countless people will be spared the tragedy of blindness, perhaps my personal loss will have served a useful purpose.
Thank you for allowing me to be heard today. I appreciate this opportunity and am grateful to you for the privilege.
NATIONAL COUNCIL TO COMBAT BLINDNESS, INC.
Grant-in-aid awards prior to 1953
Boston City Hospital..
Study into electrical responses of retina and brain
in patients with amblyopia ex anopsia and sup
pression. New York Medical College, Flower and Regional light sensitivity of the retina-technique Fifth Avenue Hospitals.
and theory. Northwestern University Medical College - Quantitative measurements of ocular fluorescein
fluorescence in normal and glaucomatous eyes. Nuffield laboratory of Ophthalmology, the Investigation into the normal and abnormal
Eye Hospital, Oxford University, Eng. structures of the vitreous humor by michroland.
chemical and histochemical methods. University of Pennsylvania...
Virus infections of ocular tissues grafted onto the
choricallantoic membrane of the chick mem
their role in the composition of the vitreous
the vitreous gel.
with amblyopia ex anopsia and suppression. New York University Post-Graduate Attempts to grow the virus of inclusion conjuncMedical School.
tivitus, follicular conjunctivitus, and folliculo
sis. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary ---- Investigation into the role of focal infection in the
etiology of nonspecific ocular inflammation, University Hospitals, University of Iowa. Investigation into the incidence and basic cause
of cataract, hemorrhages, and degenerative
choricallantoic membrane of the chick embryo. Government Hospital, Haifa, Israel. ... Investigation into factors affecting new vessel
growth into the cornea. Indiana University Medical School. Study into the mechanism of development of con
tralateral granulomatous uveitis from the use of
horse serum in rabbits. New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Retinopathy in diabetes..
Fifth Avenue Hospitals (continuation). and theory.
and Ear Infirmary (continuation).
with amblyopia ex anopsia and suppression. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.. The possible role of hyperstrinism in the etiology
of retrolental fibroplasia. Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia..... Investigation of the intermediary reactions and
the enzyme systems involved in the anaerobic
glycosis of the lens. New York Medical College, Flower and Detection of plane polarized light by the human Fifth Avenue Hospitals.
eye. Stanford University School of Medicine... Visual characteristics of macular and peripheral
retina in amblyopia associated with convergent
and divergent deviation. University of Louisville School of Medi- Role of estrogenic and androgenic substances on cine.
the retinal vascular pattern in alloxan diabetic
rats. New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Investigations into the efficacy of certain therapies Center.
in the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa and
other night blinding diseases.
substances related to adrenalin and its deriva.
tions of beta-irradiation applicators for use in
Grant-in-aid and fellowship awards for the fiscal year 1953–54
1. Goodwin, M. Breinin, M. D
New York University, Post
Graduate Medical School,
ogy, University Hospitals,
Iowa City, Iowa.
School of Medicine.
$1, 620 Neotetrazolium studies in the eye (de- Study of the physiology of the eye to determine under
certain abnormal conditions problems relating to
glaucoma, cataracts, and corneal transplantation.
responses in relation to defective vision in children
retina in children and adults.
type of cataract by inducing the condition in experi-
found in infants and growing children.
and relation of measurements to investigation may provide valuable information
with regard to myopia and concerning eyeballs
actions and the enzyme systems further clarify method of lens development and
animals. This disease called toxoplasmosis can be
ing the retina.
effective techniques in preventing and healing of
scars in the cornea of the eye.
lens, glaucoma and other congenital abnormalities.
Turkish eye specialist and is concerned with a
Wills Eye Hospital, Phila
University of Chicago.
7. I. C. Michaelson, M. D. (continua- Government Hospital, tion grant).
Haifa, Israel. 8. J. Wm. Rosenthal, M. D
Tulane University Medical
School 9. Necdet Sezer, M. D.
Cerrahpasa Hospital, Istan
Grant-in-aid and fellowship awards for the fiscal year 1953-54-Continued
1,500 Experimental study of effects of beta Study to improve the safety of X-ray treatment of
ticularly the rods and cones, the cells which have
with sarcoidosis (ocular and other) upon certain blood serum reaction for tuberculosis
10. Fred M. Wilson, M. D., (combination Indiana University Medical
Eye and Ear Hospital,
12. Max Fine, M. D
Stanford University, School
of Medicine, San Francisco, Calif.
1 This award includes graduate student fellowship stipend.
1. Edgar Auerbach, M. D.1.
University Hospitals, State
University of Iowa.
2. Torvard Laurent, M. D..
Retina Foundation, Massa
chusetts Eye and Ear In-
$4,200 Retinal physiology.
Study into the function of the retina by means of elec
trical investigation in order to provide further
abnormal conditions of the retina.
and size of the hyaluronic acid mole- of the human eye. Changes in the vitreous are
destroy sight in humans.
ken. Amount of this stipend in-
3. Stanley Jerold Solomon..
Eye and Ear Hospital,
1 This fellow is being financed by the Michael Tenzer Memorial Fund of the National Council To Combat Blindness.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you. Dr. Gordon, I feel terribly embarrassed.
Miss WEISENFELD. Dr. Gordon has asked me to include in the record his statement.
The CHAIRMAN. It will be included in the record at this point. (The statement referred to is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF DAN M. GORDON, M. D., NEW YORK
QUALIFICATIONS Graduate of the School of Medicine, University of Michigan, 1932. Diplomate of the American College of Ophthalmology. Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Oto-Laryngology. Fellow of Pan-American Ophthalomolɔgical Society. Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery (Ophthalmology ) Cornell. University Medical College. Assistant, attending staff, New York Hospital. Chairman of the medical board of the National Council to Combat Blindness. Member of the American Medical Association and New York State and New York
County Medical Societies. Fellow of the American Medical Association. Consultant to the Council on Pharmacy, American Medical Association. A pioneer in the introduction of ACTH and cortisone into ophthalmology. Authority on night-blinding diseases. Member of the National Advisory Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blind
ness Council. Author of various ophthalmological articles. Special consultant in ophthalmology to the Surgeon General United States Public
The organization of the average medical school eye department in this country has not been conducive to the conduction of a good eye research program, until recently. Since ophthalmology is primarily a clinical subject, most eye departments are headed by part-time clinicians, who (for the most part) are too busy with their private practices to devote much time to their departments or to research programs. Those who are and were desirous of carrying out intensive research projects on a large scale involving ophthalmologists, chemists, physicists and other allied technical skills were (and are) stymied by lack of funds. Most departments still lack adequate funds with which to carry out their necessary teaching programs; and depend upon part-time men who devote their time free. Postgraduate programs are virtually nonexistent in most medical school eye departments excepting for the training of their own immediate house staffs (interns and residents).
During the last decade or so there has been a gradual change in the organizational policies of many medical schools in the direction of building up the socalled minor specialties (eye, ear, nose and throat, dermatology, neurology, etc.) into major departments.
This has involved the gradual replacement (where funds could be found) of part time heads, etc., by full time men and the addition of other full time men; with the concommitant stimulation of subspecialization within the field of ophthalmology. This latter has meant that many well trained men are now devoting themselves to the study of various problems within the broad field of ophthalmology (such as diseases of one part of the eye, the various diseases involving the eye and the brain together, etc.) Since problems and fields tend to overlap this intense concentration on, what appear to be, very small areas within a broad field has actually meant that as one problem is solved, a key has automatically been furnished which may open the door to the solution of a related problem.
As a matter of fact there has been an awakening consciousness of the fact that the eye is part of the whole body and is involved in the ilnesses of the latter. A good example of this is diabetes, a general disease which is high in the list of causes of blindness. One of your own Members of Congress is blind as a result of diabetes. Another example is that the hormones ACTH and cortisone which were brought out for the relief of arthritis have proved more valuable in the treatment of certain blinding eye diseases. It is to the eternal credit of