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USA & KSA Leading Ophthalmological Centers Announce Affiliation

The Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore (USA) announced today that it will collaborate in research, education and patient care with the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).

“We at the Wilmer Institute have long been interested in the study and cure of blinding around the world, and the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital is certainly one of the most impressive eye hospitals outside of the United States,” says Dr. Peter J. McDonnell, William Holland Wilmer Professor of Ophthalmology and the director of the Wilmer Institute. “Working in close collaboration with the excellent experts at the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, and combining the expertise of our two institutions, will allow for more rapid evaluation of potential new therapies than would be possible with either hospital working alone”.

A major focus of the affiliation will be the training of the next generation of leaders in ophthalmology in both countries and beyond. These are the scientists who will be developing new procedures and new treatments for eye diseases that currently are not curable. Wilmer Institute already has trained more than one hundred chairpersons in departments of ophthalmology in dozens of countries.

“We are delighted to enter into this affiliation with the Wilmer Institute,” says Dr. Abdul Elah Al-Towerki, executive director of the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital. “We chose the Wilmer Institute because of its commitment to excellence and track record of advancing the field of ophthalmology. Both of our institutions have great strengths, and working closely together in this affiliation will allow us to accomplish more, in a shorter period of time, than we could working alone. This affiliation is supported at the highest levels within the government of Saudi Arabia”.

Several Wilmer faculty members will work at the hospital for extended periods — treating patients, teaching and conducting research. With financial support from the Saudi Government, joint research activities will focus on developing treatments for blinding eye diseases, such as diabetic eye disease, that afflict patients living in both countries and around the world. In addition, a new endowed professorship at Johns Hopkins will be established to support the work of Hopkins’ faculty.

The Wilmer Institute is one of the largest medical institutes devoted to treatment and cure of eye diseases in the United States, with more than 130 full-time faculty members, and is recognized as one of the premier research, training and patient-care facilities in the world.

The King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital (KKESH) is the largest eye hospital in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and is one of the top-ranked medical facilities in the Middle East.

Dr. Edward Miller, dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, points out that one of Johns Hopkins Medicine’s chief missions is to work with organizations around the world to advance medicine. “We at Johns Hopkins are pleased by this affiliation and expect it will lead to successful collaborations in teaching, research and improving the care of patients with eye diseases”.

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