Holland Foundation for Sight Restoration Launched to Provide Life Changing Eye Surgeries


July 23, 2021

Patrick Crowley
Director of Communications
Holland Foundation for Sight Restoration

[email protected]

LAS VEGAS – Edward Holland, MD, – an internationally recognized and pioneering ophthalmologist in the treatment of Severe Ocular Surface Disease – today announced the launch of the Holland Foundation for Site Restoration with a goal of establishing Centers of Excellence (COEs) throughout the country that would specialize in site restoration procedures.

The announcement of The Holland Foundation was made during the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) annual meeting in Las Vegas. It is the only foundation created to address the significant unmet medical need of corneal transplantation for patients who have Severe Ocular Surface Disease while enabling surgeons the resources to provide the treatment across the country.

It is estimated that 60,000 people are born with birth defects that cause progressive blindness due to ocular surface failure. Another 100,000 people will have a chemical or thermal accident each year that impairs their sight.

Because corneal blindness results from severe ocular surface disease in which routine corneal transplantation is not effective, a tremendous opportunity exists for patients to regain their vision with ocular surface stem cell transplantation, also known as The Cincinnati Technique™.

“We specialize in patients that have injuries like acid or alkaline injuries, or chronic, severe medical problems that cause them to scar the surface of the eye,” said Dr. Holland, Director of Cornea Services at Cincinnati Eye Institute and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati.

“The most severe patients end up with loss of the skin-producing stem cells called the limbal stem cells, which results in corneal scaring and then, unfortunately, severe blindness,” he said. “To treat these patients, we transplant the specialized surface cells of the eye from a relative or a deceased donor. Patients then require oral antirejection medications similar to organ transplant patients.”

But most potential patients do not have access to effective treatment, so ocular surface stem cell transplantation surgeries are rarely performed.

To ensure that patients around the nation have access to Dr. Holland’s expertise and procedures, the nonprofit Foundation will fund additional locations, training and support for those who cannot afford treatment. Ultimately, COE’s are envisioned in selected cities and regions of the country.

– Southern California, Minnesota, Virginia, Texas, Massachusetts and New York.

Each COE will specialize in sight restoration procedures and each will be in proximity to existing networks of nephrologists and other appropriate specialists.

“Ed Holland is one of the only doctors that does this particular technique,” said Foundation Board Chairman Robert Dempsey. “Supporters of the Foundation have the opportunity to make a difference – to give the gift of sight to patients who without the financial resources of the Foundation will live a life in which they are blind.”

The Foundation will provide “tool kits” to physicians across the country to implement the protocols and approach that Dr. Holland and his team have created in Cincinnati.

The Holland Foundation for the Restoration of Sight will:

Provide support and clinical care for patients with severe ocular surface disease throughout the nation.
Increase access to Ocular Surface Transplantation and the necessary follow up care to restore sight to those in need.

Educate clinicians on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with severe ocular surface disease.
Train clinicians on how to build a regional Ocular Surface Transplantation Center and create the infrastructure needed to perform the Ocular Surface Transplantation surgery and the necessary follow up care for successful long-term prognosis.

Patients have been flocking to the Cincinnati Eye Institute and nearby St. Elizabeth Hospital in Edgewood, Ky., to be treated by Dr. Holland with what is known as Cincinnati Protocol.

As just a toddler, Kirk Kozak lost the vision in one eye and had the other severely damaged in a horrific accident. But after being treated by Dr. Holland, his life changed forever.

“Just like that I could see,” Kozak said. “It was like when I closed my eyes I was in a world of impressionism. And when I opened them, everything was crystal clear. It was awesome.”

Yvette Odom, who lives in the Philadelphia, lost her sight due to an atopic disease, an inflammatory allergic condition. She underwent multiple procedures, but they all failed. She was referred to Dr. Holland and he transplanted ocular surface stem cells from her bother. After receiving this transplant her sight was restored.

“I was 20/400 and now I am 20/20,” Odom said. ” It’s just such a beautiful gift – giving someone the ability to see again.”

Dr. Holland has attracted worldwide referrals for medical and surgical corneal problems and for ocular surface stem cell transplantation, treating patients who have lost the ability to regenerate the ocular surface cells that provide a clear cornea necessary for normal vision. His clinical work includes Corneal Transplantation, Cataract Surgery and Ocular Surface Transplantation.

Since 2002, Dr. Holland has been referred thousands of patients and performed surgery on over 500 patients – and 1000 eyes – from all 50 states as well as Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Brazil, and several countries of Europe.

About the Holland Foundation for Site Restoration

The goal of the Holland Foundation for Sight Restoration – established as a 501(c)(3) – is to address a significant unmet need of corneal transplantation for patients who have Severe Ocular Surface Disease. The Foundation is raising funds to provide financial resources for surgeons and patients so they may have the availability for this advanced care. Learn more at www.hollandfoundationforsight.org.

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