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NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NEI/      

National Eye Institute: Important Events in NEI History


August 16, 1968--Public Law 90-489 authorized formation of the National Eye Institute.

December 26, 1968--The National Eye Institute was established.

April 3-4, 1969--The National Advisory Eye Council held its first meeting.

January 11, 1970--Dr. Carl Kupfer was appointed NEI director.

December 15, 1970--Reorganization of NEI resulted in the formation of an Office of Biometry and Epidemiology; an Office of the Director of Intramural Research; and a Laboratory of Vision Research and a Clinical Branch as the foci of intramural research.

April 1975--Publication of the National Advisory Eye Council’s report, Vision Research Program Planning, was the first comprehensive assessment of major needs and opportunities in vision research in the U.S.

April 1978--Publication of the National Advisory Eye Council’s 5-year plan, Vision Research: 1978-1982, included review and analysis of vision research and research training in the U.S. and discussion of future priorities.

September 1978--A Laboratory of Sensori-motor Research was established within the intramural research program.

November 1978--Public Law 95-623, Health Services Research, Health Statistics, and Health Care Technology Act, authorized NEI to carry out a grants program for construction or renovation of public and nonprofit private vision research facilities.

June 1981--A Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Biology was established within the intramural research program.

May 1983--The National Advisory Eye Council’s second 5-year plan (1983-87) recommended future NEI programs.

March 1984--A Laboratory of Ophthalmic Pathology was established within the intramural program.

July 19, 1984--The Office of Biometry and Epidemiology was transferred out of the Office of the Director and established as the Biometry and Epidemiology Program.

August 1985--An Intramural Research Program reorganization abolished the Laboratory of Vision Research and created the Laboratories of Mechanisms of Ocular Diseases; Retinal Cell and Molecular Biology; and Immunology.

1987--The National Advisory Eye Council’s, Vision Research--A National Plan: 1983-1987, 1987 Evaluation and Update, discussed accomplishments since the 1983-87 plan was published, evaluated the status of NEI-supported research activities, and revised priorities for the next 2 years.

December 1987--The Collaborative Clinical Vision Research Branch was established to provide overall scientific management and administration for NEI grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements supporting clinical trials and epidemiologic studies.

1988--NEI’s fiscal year appropriation included funds that enabled the institute to increase its commitment to the prevention of blindness through public and professional education programs and the encouragement of regular eye examinations. These education efforts are part of a National Eye Health Education Program.

February 1989--The Office of International Program Activities was created to enhance coordination of NEI’s international activities, particularly those relating to cooperation with nongovernmental organizations, international agencies, and the international components of other Federal agencies.

April 7, 1989--The Office of Planning and Reporting was renamed the Office of Science Policy and Legislation.

February 10, 1990--The Ophthalmic Genetics and Clinical Services Branch was established in the intramural program.

June 1991--A Laboratory of Ocular Therapeutics was established.

December 1991--NEI launched the National Eye Health Education Program.

Spring 1993-Spring 1995--A "Celebration of Vision Research" commemorated the NEI’s 25th anniversary.

June 1993--The NEI and its advisory body, the National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC), produced and distributed its sixth long-range plan, Vision Research--A National Plan: 1994-1998, that contained policy recommendations and scientific program priorities. This is the latest in a series of national vision research plans that began in 1975. Over the next 5 years, NEI will monitor how closely the institute’s actual program development matches the plan’s recommendations.

October 17, 1995--The NEI launched, Ojo con su vision, a diabetic eye disease program for Hispanics.


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