Physician clinicians and researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Iowa have been working to make important research breakthroughs in the fight to combat Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a genetically inherited eye disease that causes babies to be born blind or children to go blind before reaching school age. Many individuals with LCA have been told, “Nothing can be done,” to restore their sight. But today, that has changed.
In 2007, researchers at the University joined with the Lions Clubs of Iowa to create Project 3000, the goal of which was to find people born blind or adults who became blind as children, test them, and find the roughly 3,000 people in the U.S. with LCA. The researchers worked with other researchers across the country, who also enlisted their local Lions clubs in the efforts. The Iowa Lions canvassed their own club communities to locate individuals throughout Iowa who might have LCA and offer them genetic testing.