I.O.O.F. California Visual Research Foundation, Inc.

 IOOF California Visual Research Foundation, Inc.
















Early in 1988 our first Odd Fellow & Rebekah Eye Clinic was formed in La Jolla. Dr. Barry Kassar offered his office as our very first, with a pledge to assist in the formation of additional Clinics not only in California, but in the Western States! Our Clinics are pledged to provide complete eye, medical and surgical care for members and their families on a fair fee basis. In most cases, existing insurance coverage will cover the fees. Special arrangements can be made for those members without medical insurance or with financial difficulty.

The Mericos Eye Institute is located at Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. It is a premier eye center of excellence. It was named to honor the late Mericos H. Whittier through the generosity of his daughter Helen Whinier Woodward. the name Mericos is close to 'Miracle'.

Financial contributions and volunteer efforts from friends and community have been the key to Mericos' success. A complete spectrum of eyecare services enhances the tradition of excellence by the ophthalmologists and staff who provide the highest level of patient care.

There is a Laser Diagnostic Center, the Lag Laser which treats Glaucoma and secondary cataracts. The Argon /Dye Laser “spot welds” tears and leaks in the Retina and treats certain types of Glaucoma.

The Eximer Laser is famous around the world. Patients are coming from east and west! Mericos was given the privilege by the Food & Drug Administration to test this laser. It also is used to reshape the Cornea and eliminate nearsightedness. Since FDA approval two year ago almost 4,000 patients have been helped. Now the Laser is under testing for Hypermetropia - far sightedness.

What does the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Visual Research Foundation of the Sovereign Grand Lodge do?


The Wilmer Eye Institute



oIts primary activity is the support of the Odd Fellow Professorship at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland. 
oThere, Dr. Henry D. Jampel, the current Odd Fellow Professor of Ophthalmology, conducts research and trains other doctors. 
Dr. Jampel recently replaced Dr. William Richard Green, who retired after serving in that position with distinction since 1989.  Dr. Jampel is widely recognized for his work in the area of glaucoma. 
oThe Odd Fellow Professorship at Wilmer is financed by interest from a trust fund.  Originally the fund held $625,000.  It has been increased periodically, reaching $1,000,000 in 1983.  This year it was increased to $2,000,000.  It needs to grow to $2,500,000 within five years in order for the Odd Fellow professorship to continue.
oMajor donations to this Foundation are acknowledged each year at Sovereign Grand Lodge.  This year, because of a donation by a recent Past Grand Master, California was recognized for the second highest total contributions.  (The plaque is at our table.)
oCalifornia Past President Carolyn DeBoer is a member of the Board of Directors of this Foundation.
oFounded in 1925
oSixty years ago, a young ophthalmologist named Arnall Patz was investigating the cause of blindness in premature infants.  He concluded that the leading cause was the use of an excessive amount of oxygen in incubators, compensating for their under-developed lungs, and he proposed a study to verify this.
oThe medical establishment soundly rejected this proposal.  They even threatened to take away Dr. Patz’s license for even proposing a study that would surely jeopardize the lives of these premature infants.  The doctor continued his study with animals, and was eventually able to conduct the study on premature human infants.  The results were so conclusive that hospitals around the world soon lowered the oxygen level 50% in their incubators.  As a direct result, 1,000 schools for the blind were eventually closed, being no longer needed.
oThe musician Stevie Wonder is one of the premature infants that was born too soon to benefit from Dr. Patz’s doctor’s perseverance.  He periodically gives benefit concerts at Wilmer out of gratitude for all of those like him whose vision was saved.
oFor his work, Dr. Patz was awarded the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award (sometimes called the “American Nobel”) in 1956.  After 15 years of part-time association with John Hopkins, he joined the full-time faculty in 1970 and served as Director of Wilmer Eye Institute from 1979 to 1989.
oIn addition to many other distinguished ophthalmology awards during his career, Dr. Patz was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on June 23, 2004.
oToday, other doctors of this caliber at Wilmer, including our Dr. Jampel, are doing advanced research in glaucoma, macular degeneration and many other diseases of the eye.  Some of the on-going studies involve possible uses of stem cells and the role of genetic factors in these diseases.
oAs more direct benefit to some of our members, Dr. Jampel, like the two Odd Fellow professors before him, is able to review the case histories of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs with vision problems, and he will recommend improved courses of treatment when possible.

How can a member arrange for a case review by Dr. Jampel?

oA Wilmer Eye Institute Referral Form must be sent to the member’s Ophthalmologist, to be completed and sent directly to Dr. Jampel, along with the Ophthalmologist’s diagnosis, case history and treatment plan.
oA letter to Dr. Jampel, under the seal of the Lodge and signed by the lodge secretary, must accompany the Referral Form, stating that this is a member in good standing.  (A member in Non-contributing status is considered to be in good standing.)  This letter can be signed by the Grand Secretary or the Rebekah Assembly Secretary for a member of a jurisdictional lodge.
oIf Dr. Jample concludes that an appointment at Wilmer would be to the patient’s benefit, steps are taken to arrange it.
oA copy of the Referral Form can be obtained from Grand Lodge, Rebekah Assembly, or from a member of California or International Board of Directors. 



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Last modified: October 25, 2006