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May 10, 2019

Jefferson and Wills Eye center to focus on connections between neuroscience, vision care

The Annesley EyeBrain Center will focus on retina, optic nerve and brain disorders

Thomas Jefferson University and Wills Eye Hospital have joined forces to create the world’s first health center dedicated to exploring how the brain and eyes correspond in a search for groundbreaking treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

Announced Thursday, the partnership with culminate in the William H. Annesley Jr., MD ’48 EyeBrain Center, where experts from both Philadelphia institutions will focus on exploring connections between retina, optic nerve and brain disorders, a Jefferson news release explained.


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"At a time when far too many individuals are falling victim to debilitating, incurable disorders of the brain, the Annesley EyeBrain Center will be more than a destination for premier neuro-ophthalmologic research and care — it will serve as a powerful beacon of hope," said Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. 

One area of great importance that the researchers at the Annesley EyeBrain Center will be focusing on is the mitochondrial function in the retina, Jefferson said. This area of study will involve the use of Multi-Color Optical Coherence Tomography, a technology which can display mitochondrial issues before disease symptoms occur. 

The goal is that this will lead to a higher capacity for the diagnosis and treatment of difficult neurological diseases.

“As the first center exploring the connections between the retina and disorders of the brain, the Annesley EyeBrain Center will revolutionize ophthalmic and neurological care and establish a new frontier in neuro-ophthalmology,” said Dr. Julia A. Haller, the William Tasman, M.D. Endowed Chair and ophthalmologist-in-chief at Wills Eye Hospital, and professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. “And as a tribute to the remarkable life and career of Dr. Annesley, it will cement his legacy of excellence, preserving his values and reputation for generations to come. “

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