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Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute

The cornerstone of vision research at UIC

Vision research, like all biomedical science, has been revolutionized by the ability to identify and manipulate genes. The promise and power of research to prevent and cure disease has never been greater.

Research Overview Heading link

Scientists working in the laboratories of the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute search for the underlying causes of every major eye disease—including macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. They continue to unravel the mystery of how we see—because understanding how healthy vision works is critical to solving what can go wrong. And they employ the most advanced biotechnologies, from gene silencing to confocal microscopy, to conduct novel experiments that push the boundaries of what we know about vision and eye disease.

The treatments for blinding eye diseases at our disposal today are the result of discoveries made in research laboratories a generation ago. The research underway in the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute, and throughout the community of vision scientists, points the way to treatments we can only begin to imagine.

History of the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute Heading link

Lions institute building with people in front

In 1980, the promise of research to one day prevent blindness brought together the Lions of Illinois and the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago to create a modern facility dedicated to vision research. The now late Lion Norman Dahl, president of the Lions of Illinois Foundation at the time, and Dr. Morton Goldberg, who was then head of the Department of Ophthalmology, led the effort to build a center for vision research on the UIC campus.

The Department’s research program had grown exponentially under Dr. Goldberg’s leadership, and could no longer be housed in the Eye and Ear Infirmary. Not only was there too little space to accommodate the number of researchers, what little there was could not adequately support modern research needs. The Lions of Illinois had long been collaborators with the Department in many endeavors, including the Glaucoma Screening Project. The Lions agreed to undertake the construction of a research building for the state to operate and maintain as a part of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Over the next five years, Lions Clubs throughout Illinois raised funds for building construction through grassroots efforts that yielded over $5-million – the largest single fundraising effort the Lions had ever undertaken. In 1986, the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute opened its doors.

Institute Sponsors Heading link

  • American Brands, Inc.
  • Antioc Lions Club
  • Batavia Lions Club
  • Beaverville Lions Club
  • Belleville Lions Club
  • Belleville Midtown Noon Lions Club
  • Bradley Lions Club
  • Breese Lions Club
  • Cahokia Lions Club
  • Carlinville Lions Club
  • Carpentersville Lions Club
  • Central City Lions Club
  • Chicago Central Lions Club In Honor of Dalton Cole
  • Chicago East Side Lions Club
  • Chicago Edgebrook Lions Club
  • Chicago Mont Clare Elmwood Park Lions Club
  • Crest Hill Lions Club In Memory of Alex Wroblewski
  • Danvers Lions Club
  • Deerfield Lions Club In Memory of Jane Allen
  • Edwin F. and Lois Deicke
  • Des Plaines Lions Club
  • A. Cameron Dystrup In Memory of Andrew Christian Dystrup
  • Earlville Lions Club
  • Elburn Lions Club
  • Elburn Lions Club In Honor of Norman R. Dahl
  • Elburn Lions Club In Honor of Robert S. Ostrom
  • Elgin Lions Club
  • Fairbury Lions Club Given in Memory of Edna Maier For the Benefit of Blind Children
  • The Forest Lions Club
  • Fox Lake Lioness Club
  • Fox Lake Lions Club
  • Fox Lake Noon Lions Club
  • Frankfort Lions Club
  • Walter H. Haas
  • Harwood Heights – Norridge Lions Club
  • Huntley Lions Club
  • In Memory of Clarence Decker In Honor of Glenn DeAtley
  • In Memory of Louis A. Aebischer “Sorely missed but never forgotten.”
  • In Memory of Nelson Brockman
  • Irwin Lions Club
  • Itasca Lions Club
  • Jacksonville Lions Club
  • Kaora Murakam
  • Peter C. Kronfeld, MD, Memorial Fund
  • LaGrange Lions Club In Memory of Helen Lynch
  • Lena Lions Club
  • Lions Clubs of Joliet
  • Lions of Illinois Eye Bank
  • Lions of Illinois Foundation
  • Lockport Lions Club, Family & Friends In Memory of A. Cameron Dystrup
  • Marseilles Lioness Club
  • Marseilles Lions Club
  • Mascoutah Evening Lions Club
  • Murphysboro Lions Club
  • Naperville Lioness Club
  • New Baden Lions Club
  • New Lenox Greater
  • Niles Lions Club In Memory of Thomas Marcheschi
  • North Aurora Lions Club
  • Oak Park Lions Club
  • Oregon Lions Club
  • Pearle City Lions Club
  • Pittsfield Lions Club
  • Quincy Noon Lions Club
  • Robinson Lions Club
  • Rock Island Evening Lions Club
  • Greater Rock Island Noon Lions Club
  • Shannon Lions Club
  • Troy Lions Club For Those Who Have Served
  • Westchester Lions Club In Memory of Our Deceased Members
  • Westmont Lions Club Given in the Name of George Filip
  • Willow Springs Lions Club
  • Winnebago Lions Club
  • Women’s Traffic Club
  • Wood River Lions Club