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March 12, 2009

Scientists Awarded Grant for Eye Injury Research

Ocular wounds have become among the most common and devastating form of battlefield injury. An estimated 10 to 13 percent of wounded Iraq war veterans have sustained direct and penetrating eye damage.

Recently, Peter Reinach, Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Optometry, and Maj. Jose Capo-Aponte, O.D., Ph.D., Adjunct Research Associate Professor, received a one-year, $235,000 grant from the US Department of Defense to identify novel strategies to reduce ocular injury-induced persistent and severe corneal inflammation and restore tissue transparency.

According to Professor Reinach, this debilitating and sight compromising inflammatory condition frequently persists despite corneal wound closure. His research may lead to the identification of novel drug targets to improve restoration of corneal transparency without compromising other ocular responses that are beneficial for corneal health and transparency. 

"This is an extremely important line of investigation which has the potential to have a significant impact on the standard of care for eye injuries. Drs. Reinach and Capo-Aponte and their long history of research collaboration, are tremendous assets to this College and to the men and women serving in the armed forces," said David Troilo,Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Professor Reinach has received numerous grants from the National Eye Institute for his research on the control of corneal epithelial proliferation. In 2003, he received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement. Maj. Capo-Aponte is the Deputy Director, Sensory Research Division of the US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Fort Rucker, AL.