ARVO Announces Oberdorfer Award for Low Vision Research Winner
Distinguished award presented to exceptional low-vision researcher  

Rockville, Md.  The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) today announced that Cynthia Owsley, PhD, MSPH, FARVO, has received the 2019 Oberdorfer Award for Low Vision Research, which recognizes outstanding work in the field of low vision research. This award is funded through the ARVO Foundation by the Lighthouse Guild. Owsley is the Nathan E. Miles Chair of Ophthalmology; and Vice Chair for Research Administration in the Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  

Owsley’s research focuses on the impact of aging on vision, studying why some older adults in normal macular health transition to age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults in the U.S. A specific focus is on the relationship between vision and driving and strategies to improve routine eye care utilization among populations at risk for eye disease and vision impairment. Owsley is particularly interested in the translation of research findings into public policy.  

“Dr. Owsley is making significant contributions to the study of low vision and its impact on real-world activities for people with low vision,” said ARVO Foundation Board of Governors Chair Paul Sternberg, Jr., MD, FARVO. “She perfectly reflects the intent behind the Oberdorfer Award. We are honored to recognize her work with this award.” 

This $1,250 award honors Michael D. Oberdorfer, PhD, who served for many years at the National Eye Institute (NEI) as director of Strabismus, Amblyopia and Visual Processing and director of Low Vision and Blindness Rehabilitation for the NEI Extramural Research Program. His support of low vision research led to an expansion of funded grants in that field. 

Dr. Oberdorfer’s work revolutionized the low vision medical field,” said Owsley. His successful endeavor to increase funding for low vision research will impact researchers and their work for decades to come. I am honored to be given an award dedicated to him and am thrilled to be speaking on my discoveries at the ARVO Annual Meeting in Vancouver.” 

Applications reopen July 1, 2019 and close on September 1, 2019. 

For more information about the Oberdorfer Award for Low Vision Research, visit ARVO’s website. 


About ARVOThe Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include nearly 12,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at 

About the ARVO Foundation: Established in 2001, the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research raises funds through partnerships, grants and sponsorships to support ARVO’s world-class education and career development resources for eye and vision researchers of all stages of career and education. Learn more at

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Julene Joy