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NEI Translational Research

The NEI assists researchers, clinicians, and small businesses in overcoming the many translational gaps encountered when converting a basic science discovery into a public health impact. Although the majority of the NEI's funding is devoted to basic science research, a clear part of the NEI's mandate is to translate basic science discoveries to medical interventions, and ultimately to public health improvements.

This website consolidates the various translational research resources available to the vision research community and provides examples of successful translational research projects.

The graphic below illustrates the steps of this long and difficult process, and describes the NEI programs that prevent promising medical interventions from being "lost in translation" at each step of the process.

For more information about translational research at NEI, contact:

Matthew McMahon, Ph.D.
Director, Office of
Translational Research
(301) 451-1610
mm@nih.gov

A graphic that illustrates the steps of this long and difficult process, and describes the NEI programs that prevent promising medical interventions from being lost in translation at each step of the process.

Based on Drolet and Lorenze, 2011


Applying Lab Discoveries to Clinical Problems

The majority of NEI-funded research investigates the basic mechanisms of how the visual system functions. However, NEI also supports translational laboratory and animal studies that use detailed knowledge of the biology of the visual system to design interventions to prevent or treat visual system problems that lead to loss of sight.

Safety and Effectiveness Research

The NEI supports scientific studies of how new medicines, devices, or surgeries work in people. NEI also collaborates with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to facilitate the ophthalmic regulatory approval process.

Implementation and Adoption

For medical advances to benefit society, they must reach the targeted patients and be correctly implemented. NEI works with medical societies to encourage the adoption of proven interventions and conducts comparative effectiveness research to help doctors and patients make evidence-based medical decisions.

National Eye Health Education Program

National Eye Health Education Program increases awareness of scientifically-based health information that can be applied to preserving sight and preventing blindness.

NIH Resources

Resources outside of NIH

Last Updated: May 2014



Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health USA.gov