COLUMBUS An estimated 3.6 million Ohioans have vision problem and as the population ages, this number will only increase. To curb this growth, preventive steps must be taken including increased vision research, access to care, and education.

"The growth of vision loss and the overall impact of vision problems on individuals, their families and our society inspired the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness to establish the Young Investigator Student Fellowship Award for Female Scholars in Vision Research, said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness. "Our goal is to encourage female scientists at the beginning of their careers to pursue vision research that can contribute toward the early detection and treatment discoveries that will be needed to curb the growth of vision loss," Williams continued.

Prevent Blindness is proud to announce that two Fellowship grants have been awarded to: Lindsay Perusek is a medical student at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and is conducting her summer research with the Case Western Reserve University Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She is researching new treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is a progressive condition that results in limited central vision. Risk factors for AMD include increasing age, family history and cigarette smoking. The purpose of this study is to use patient derived cell models to identify FDA-approved small molecules which reduce retinal cell damage and decrease progression of AMD clinical features.

Emily Plyler is a student at Kent State University and is conducting her research at Northeast Ohio Medical University. She is studying the mechanistic similarities between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and degenerative disorders of the primary visual system such as glaucoma. This research will focus on investigating the impact of amyloid-beta, a neurotoxic protein originally thought to only be relevant to memory or cognitive issues in AD, on the visual system. This protein has been detected in eye tissues of patients with glaucoma and AD, as well as in animal models of AD, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

Prevent Blindness is accepting applications for its 2018 Young Investigator Student Fellowship Awards for Female Scholars in Vision Research. Grants will be awarded for the summer 2017 session. The deadline for receipt of applications is February 15, 2018. Applicants must be post-baccalaureate students enrolled in either a Master's or Doctorate program, female citizens or permanent residents of the United States and conducting their fellowship project with a recognized academic institution in the State of Ohio. For more information about the Fellowship and/or to access an application form, contact Prevent Blindness at 800-301-2020 ext. 112 or info@pbohio.org. To download the application, go to: http://ohio.preventblindness.org/young-investigator-student-fellowship-awards-female-scholars-vision-research

About Prevent Blindness Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is Ohio's leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Or, visit us on the web at www.pbohio.org or facebook.com/pbohio.