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Kellogg Eye Center, Some History

Posted By Rebecca Tudor, CRA, Friday, January 16, 2015
Updated: Friday, February 20, 2015



I attended my first OPS Board of Education Business Meeting at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center.  Let me tell you, I was blown away with the clinic and facilities there.  Working in a good size clinic myself, it was amazing to see such a grand eye center.   I was interested in how the Kellogg Eye Center came to be, and so I did some research, and I thought I would share it with you. 

The Regents of the University of Michigan established it in 1872 and it has the 4th oldest Ophthalmology department in the country.   Throughout the 1930 and 1950’s the University began establishing itself in ophthalmic genetics research with Dr. Harold Falls and Mathew Alpern becoming two of the world’s foremost experts in color vision.   The Department collaborated with the local Lions Clubs to establish the Michigan Eye Bank which provides donor tissue to patients who are in need of corneal transplant. 

The Kellogg Eye Center opened its doors in 1985 consolidating all departments under one roof for the first time.  During the 1990’s, Kellogg Resident Dr. Ron Kurtz discovered that the ultrafast laser had potential for eye surgery.  Collaboration between Kellogg and the University’s Center for Ultrafast Optical Science created Prototype Lasers, and by the end of the decade IntraLase, Corp was formed to market the ultrafast laser for LASIK surgery.  Another major ophthalmic research discovery at Michigan was the RPE65 gene that is responsible for an early and severe retinal degeneration that causes childhood blindness.  Dr. Debra A. Thompson, Ph.D. cloned the first retinal pigment epithelium-specific disease.  

The 21st century brought Kellogg Eye Center to the fore front of Ophthalmology.    During this time, the Eye Center launched the of first federally certified eye gene testing service in the country, and Kellogg faculty implanted miniature telescopes in the eyes of patients with age related macular degeneration to improve sight.

The faculty at the Kellogg Eye Center were also involved in studies that brought us Lucentis.  The Cornea Service acquired an IntraLase FS laser for LASIK surgery, began a study of the femtosecond laser for corneal transplants and glaucoma surgery, and further piloted a program to study the use of the femtosecond laser in preforming full thickness corneal transplants.

In 2006, Kellogg Eye Center broke ground for the combined Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and the Kellogg Eye Center expansion.  More studies began at Kellogg including a camera –like instrument that captures images of the eye to detect metabolic stress and tissue damage that can occur before the first symptoms of the disease are evident.  A pilot program to study the use of ultrafast or femtosecond laser in performing full thickness corneal transplants gives patients the advantage of faster recovery of vision and stronger wound construction.  This study is called the femtosecond Laser Assisted Keratoplasty study or FLAK.  Kellogg also participated in a study involving the drug rituximab which is effective in treating patients with severe Graves’ eye disease who did not respond to the standard steroids treatment.

The U-M Kellogg Eye Center expansion was dedicated on April 23, 2010. The department hosted a major conference featuring 20 leading ophthalmologists from around the world. 

Under a grant from the W.K. Kellogg foundation, the faculty will begin evaluating why some children do not receive follow-up care after failed vision screenings. Researchers will also analyze data on the incidence and prevalence of strabismus and amblyopia and will seek to improve vision care for premature babies.  

In 2014, the retina surgeons from Kellogg performed the first four surgeries in the United States to implant an artificial retina, or “bionic eye,” since the FDA approved the device in 2013.  This device provides rudimentary vision for patients with retinitis pigmentosa. 

The Center of International Ophthalmology was established in 2013 to coordinate the international clinical and research activities, encouraging the exchange of knowledge and best practices globally. Kellogg is ranked as one of the best ophthalmology programs in the U.S News & World reports. 

Amazing accomplishments are abound at the Kellogg Eye Center and will continue to be a leader in the field of Ophthalmology.   I hope you were just as amazed as I was to learn how much the Kellogg Eye Center has done for Ophthalmology. 


Tags:  blog  Ice Breakers  Kellogg Eye Center  PDC 

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