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National Eye Institute Awards $5 Million for CU Anschutz-based Cochrane Eyes and Vision US Project

The award supports critical research to help identify treatments to improve the lives of people suffering from debilitating eye diseases.

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Written by Toni Lapp on September 6, 2022

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has awarded a $5 million grant to Tianjing Li, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in a continuation of the NEI’s support of the Cochrane Eyes and Vision US Satellite (CEV US Satellite) at the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center.

The award is one of the largest grants the CU Department of Ophthalmology has received from the NEI and ensures the project will remain on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus for the next five years.

“We are very grateful for NEI’s continued support in the research we are doing,” says Li. “It will help us grow new partnerships, produce trustworthy evidence, and ultimately improve the vision care our patients receive.”

The CEV US Satellite is a team of US-based researchers and practitioners who review medical literature for content covering interventions to prevent or treat eye conditions and visual impairments and to help people adjust to visual impairment or blindness.

“Cochrane systematic reviews are published in the Cochrane Library, which contains high-quality, independent evidence to inform health care decision-making,” says Li, principal investigator for the CEV US Satellite. “These reviews are valuable sources of information for those receiving and providing care, as well as for policymakers and researchers. Our reviews have been highly cited by national and international practice guidelines.”

Although the reviews are written for health care professionals, each review can also help to assist patients and the public in making informed health care decisions. Topics for reviews are identified based on gaps in the literature, importance of the topics to influence practice, and from interest and suggestions of patients and experts in the field. Once a review topic has been identified, Li’s team works with eye doctors to produce the review, which is then peer reviewed and ultimately published in the Cochrane Library.

 “We are very proud of the program Dr. Tianjing Li has built here in the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center,” says Naresh Mandava, MD, chair of the CU Department of Ophthalmology and Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Endowed Chair in Retinal Diseases. “Evidence-based medicine is critical to our understanding of disease and identifying effective therapies that will ultimately improve the lives of people suffering from debilitating eye diseases. The Cochrane project centered here at CU leads the way in this endeavor and we appreciate the National Eye Institute’s continued support of this important work.”

The project’s mission to promote informed health care decision-making and research is critical amid the current climate of increasing health care disparities and growth of health care misinformation from online sources.

“Vision health care should be based on science,” Li says. “In this era of data deluge, evidence-informed practice is needed more than ever.”

Since 2002, the CEV US Satellite has published more than 120 systematic reviews and more than 90 methodological papers and book chapters. The project has also trained more than 120,000 individuals in methods for systematic reviews and has informed hundreds of clinical practice guidelines in the United States and internationally.

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