Innovations: Letter from Leadership 2020

A new lens for a new century

Drs. Chiang, Wilson and Lauer make up Casey's leadership team
We are proud to be a world-renowned academic eye center working to eliminate preventable blindness through research, education, innovation and community service. Left to right: Dr. Michael Chiang, Dr. David Wilson, Dr. Andreas Lauer of OHSU Casey Eye Institute.

Friends and colleagues,

In 2020 we celebrate our department's 75th year, and a new decade harkens. With it, the prospect of needed innovation to improve the care of patients with vision threatening conditions, especially whole populations. 

Using this measure, Oregon has a visual acuity of about 20/80, based on a sampling of patients suffering from the three leading causes of legal blindness: macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. To us, leadership in ophthalmology should be about bringing that number closer to 20/20. To make progress, a critical component is to rally public awareness and education about eye health, so that people make the connection between vision and the quality of every aspect of their lives in the 21st century.


The three major causes of legal blindness in Oregon are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetes. When we analyze all the patients we have seen in clinic with these three diagnoses, the average corrected visual acuity is 20/25. However, if we look at this population in total, we have to go up to 20/80 to capture 95% of all of the patients being evaluated for these three diseases. This statistical method can be used to assess our progress in addressing Oregon’s overall visual health. Learn more about how Oregon's visual acuity was calculated.

Creating change in 2020

In the iconic year 2020, when we celebrate our department's 75th anniversary, we will advance this theme through two ambitious projects: The Eye Love Project and the new Elks Children’s Eye Clinic building.

The Eye Love Project 2020

A yearlong, statewide effort to celebrate vision, the Eye Love Project is a mobile multimedia exhibit created to engage a broad community in reflections on vision health and to drive awareness of our goal to reduce preventable blindness. The exhibit will travel among major community partners throughout the year, such as the Oregon Zoo and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The exhibit features a recording booth where the public can record video messages about what their vision means to them and share memories of special, visual moments in life. These stories will be widely shared, and build on the project throughout the year to create a vision census of Oregon. Learn more about The Eye Love Project.

Elks Children’s Eye Clinic

The Elks Children’s Eye Clinic will be the nation’s first freestanding eye clinic for pediatric patients, representing a world-class hub for innovative research, subspecialty patient care and leading-edge programs in gene therapy, preschool vision screening and telemedicine for retinopathy of prematurity. The 60,000-square-foot building will also house the Wold Family Macular Degeneration Center, the Paul H. Casey Ophthalmic Genetics Division, imaging technology integrated into exam spaces, a mobility maze and more. In this new space specifically designed for a new era in ophthalmology, we will have the tools, technology and talent to detect eye disease earlier, diagnose it more accurately and provide the most effective treatments possible.

As a recognized leader in pioneering vision research, OHSU Casey Eye Institute has made amazing advancements to change the future of vision health in our state and beyond. We are proud to share with you some highlights of the promising work that is transforming how we provide care to people and populations affected by eye diseases.


David. J. Wilson, M.D.
Professor and Paul H. Casey Chair,
Department of Ophthalmology Director, Casey Eye Institute

Andreas Lauer, M.D.
Professor and Thiele-Petti Chair,
Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology

Michael F. Chiang, M.D.
Knowles Professor,
Department of Ophthalmology
Associate Director, Casey Eye Institute