Letter from Leadership 2024

A photo of the Casey Eye Institute and Elks Children's Eye Clinic buildings with the tram in the background.

Dear Friends:

2023 was an exceptional year for Casey. We are humbled by the scientific advances we’ve seen, the level of education we provide, and our growing ability to deliver expert, compassionate care to more Oregonians. We’ve never been more committed to reaching our goal to end preventable blindness in Oregon and beyond.

Our extraordinary faculty have garnered serious recognition this year — a testament to our investments in building research capacity and recruiting top-tier people. Portland Monthly named fifteen of our physicians as top doctors, including every member of our pediatric ophthalmology team (excluding a new hire). We are also very proud of Dr. David Huang, who received significant national recognition this fall for co-inventing OCT: The White House’s National Medal of Technology and Innovation Award and the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. The Lasker is the American equivalent of the Nobel prize and Huang is the third OHSU faculty member to win it.

As we continue to invest in innovation, our clinical trials enterprise is gaining momentum. The Elks Children’s Eye Clinic houses the ideal, state-of-the-art clinical trial spaces that enabled our doctors and vision researchers to achieve several research firsts, such as performing a new surgical technique for gene therapy treatment to reverse the inherited retinal disease X-linked retinoschisis. It also frees up space at the original Casey facility, making it possible for yet more teams to develop ambitious research programs. Our ophthalmic plastic surgery division is now a leading recruiter for a national clinical trial, for example, and our cornea, glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology specialists are ramping up more research projects than ever before.

Casey is also leading a revolution in how eye care is delivered, with an expanding array of community programs focused on bringing expert care to everyone in the state, no matter how remote their address. The goal is to make sure entire communities get the quality eye care they need — not just patients who arrive at our door. We’ve been pursuing this ideal for decades, thanks in large part to supporters like the Oregon State Elks Association, who has partnered with Casey to provide free vision screenings for preschoolers all over the state for the past 20 years.

In May, Casey established the Oregon Vision Health Network, which empowers communities across the state to provide high-quality eye care by training local healthcare workers and establishing a telehealth program. In early 2024, our second mobile eye clinic will be hitting the road, doubling our capacity to bring vision screening, referrals, and prescription glasses to patients across the state. Philanthropic investment was key – the new network received significant support from The Roundhouse Foundation, Heather Killough, S. Page Evans, the Theodore Rutherford Lilley Fund of Oregon Community Foundation and community partners around the state.

In closing, what we are most proud of is that, whatever we do at Casey — be it groundbreaking science or routine eye exams, we do it with kindness. We are incredibly grateful for the Casey community, whose technical skills, imagination, fortitude, and compassion brings us closer to realizing our audacious goals every day.

Andreas K. Lauer M.D. headshot

Andreas K. Lauer, M.D.
Director, Casey Eye Institute
Chair & Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
Margaret Thiele-Petti and August Petti Endowed Chair

David Huang, MD, PhD, headshot

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Director, Casey Eye Institute
Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering
Wold Family Endowed Chair in Ophthalmic Imaging