Lions Eye Research Foundation New Jersey - A Non-profit organization To provide financial assistance, in eye research and related fields and to stimulate a continuing program of research to prevent the occurrence of eye diseases and defects.
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The Lions Eye Research Foundation of NJ, Inc.
Alfonse Cinotti Chair of Ophthalmology
at Rutgers University School of Medicine




Mission Statement
It is the mission of the Lions Eye Research Foundation to raise $ 2,000,000 to establish a LERF Cinotti Chair in the form of a restricted endowment. It will serve to provide necessary support to the Rutgers University School of Medicine (formerly UMDNJ), Department of Ophthalmology as it continues its efforts to serve the citizens of this state in terms of patient care, education and research in eye disease.

Interview with
IOVS-NJ Chair,

Dr. Marco Zarbin,MD

Case Statement for the LERF Chair of Ophthalmology
The Department of Ophthalmology at the New Jersey Medical School is a nationally recognized center of excellence in ophthalmic education, basic and clinical eye research, and patient care. Changes in the economics of health care delivery and reductions in federal allocations for medical research have jeopardized the Departments ability to carry out its teaching, research, and clinical care mission. This crisis has occurred at academic health care centers throughout the United States with the consequence that activities which were once supported by clinical revenue and grants and will continue only if supported by philanthropic sources such as the LERF Chair.

  • The LERF Chair will contribute to the Department's ability to fulfill its mission. For example, the LERF Chair will support the educational efforts of the Department. This includes the education of ophthalmology residents with computer-based resources, the professional community, through continuing medical education series and the lay public with community outreach projects for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy screening, education regarding the prevention of eye trauma in sports and at work.
  • The LERF Chair will also support the full-time faculty's research efforts to develop new treatments for the major causes of blindness by providing seed money to support new research projects in age-related macular degeneration, amblyopia, corneal scarring, management of complex eye trauma, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa and purchase needed research equipment.
  • The LERF Chair will also fund the Departments efforts to improve access and delivery of eye care to the citizens of Newark and the state of New Jersey, which includes, purchasing equipment for screening programs, providing patient transportation, printing and distributing educational materials.

The LERF Chair will not support faculty salary or such incidental expenses as travel to academic meetings.
Given the importance of vision to all the people of New Jersey, the Department of Ophthalmology at the New Jersey Medical School serves an exceptionally important function in our state. It is the only ophthalmology department in the state that is staffed by full-time faculty involved in clinical care, teaching, and research.

Dr. Marco Zarbin


Explains what a "Chair" is.

  • Forty percent of the Departments resident graduates remain in New Jersey and provide eye care to its citizens.
  • Because there is no optometry school based in New Jersey, the Department is the only New Jersey-based institution with an explicit commitment to teach all the eye care providers in the state.
  • The full-time faculty now includes individuals with national and international reputations in every area of ophthalmology, all of which are available to provide care to the citizens of New Jersey.
Current Research in the Department of Ophthalmology at The New Jersey Medical School
  • In the area of retinal disease, the Department is developing cellular transplantation as a treatment for blindness from macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
  • It is also carrying out a major study of the risk factors for the development of Diabetic Retinopathy in African Americans.
  • In the area of corneal and refractive disorders, the Department is developing safer, more effective types of refractive surgery, which will reduce or eliminate the need for glasses.
  • It is among an elite group of research centers involved in pioneering the clinical evaluation of new drugs to treat the ocular complications of AIDS and is pursuing the development of new drugs and surgical treatments for glaucoma.
  • Finally, it is one of five centers in the United States involved in the testing of new devices (not yet FDA approved) to improve visual outcome after complex eye trauma.
  • The LERF Chair shall be used to support any or all of the development of these treatments, the training of residents and practitioners in their use, and the creation of knowledge that will benefit the citizens of New Jersey.

How Your Donations will be used
The money raised from donations is invested with the Foundation of The New Jersey Medical School of Rutgers University. Only the interest derived annually from the Foundation can be used to fund the LERF Chair. The endowment will live on in perpetuity and leave a legacy to future Lions. As part of the Foundation of the New Jersey Medical School's restricted Endowment Fund, the endowment will earn a prorated share of the investment portfolio's total return less management and cost recovery fees. Currently the fee is 1.5% annually. The Foundation will provide annual stewardship reports as well as a financial statement disclosing the investment performance of the Foundation of UMDNJ's restricted endowment fund

Your Donations are Tax Deductible
LERF is approved under section 501(C) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions to support the LERF Chair are Tax deductible. Contributions will be from Individual Lions Members, Lions Clubs, Individuals, Affinity Groups, Corporations and Foundations.

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Chair Mission Statement
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About Us
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