Each year more than four million babies are born in the United States. Of these children, approximately one in twenty requires the specialized medical expertise of a pediatric ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) to avoid permanent loss of vision.
Our mission is to eliminate preventable blindness through vision screening, advocacy and celebration.
History of Children's Eye Foundation
The Children’s Eye Foundation (CEF) is the foundation of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS). With approximately 1,200 members representing 41 countries, AAPOS is the world’s largest physician organization dedicated to children’s eye care and adults with strabismus.
The CEF was originally established in 1970 as the National Children’s Eye Care Foundation (NCECF). The late Dr. Marshall Parks, the acknowledged founder of the pediatric ophthalmology discipline, and several of his pediatric ophthalmology colleagues founded it as a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization. The stated mission of the NCECF was, “To optimize the quality of life of infants, children and families by fostering normal development and protection of vision through promoting programs of prevention, detection, treatment, research and education.”
The NCECF recognized several needs of this fledgling medical specialty of pediatric ophthalmology and, in supporting its mission statement, raised funds to meet some of these needs. Fellowship training programs were growing as the demand for well-trained pediatric ophthalmologists increased; however, funding for fellowship training was either limited or non-existent. The NCECF made loans available that were interest free for many years, and then at very low interest to comply with IRS rules. Fellowship loans totaling $600,000 have been awarded since 1970; however, the need for loans has diminished as other funding sources for training have developed. With the looming of potential changes in the funding of graduate medical education, these loans may become important again. The CEF is preparing to address this need if necessary.
The funding of research projects, especially pilot projects, was a second need recognized by the founders of the NCECF and was stated in their mission. To date, over one million dollars has been awarded for research projects, and this need continues. Learn more about projects currently being funded by the CEF.
One of the goals of the CEF, within the structure of AAPOS, is to serve as an active force in the area of directed, translational research. Working with the Research Committee of AAPOS, research project development will be nurtured and funded.