The occasion of the centennial celebration of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is an opportune time to assess the relationship of the National Eye Institute (NEI) to its principal constituents, practicing ophthalmologists. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill creating the NEI in 1968, he stated that its function would be to "support and conduct needed research and train specialists to provide diagnosis and treatment that can eliminate much of eye disease."
The NEI is a large national enterprise with a budget of over $200 million that supports the major portion of eye research in most eye centers around the country. The product of this enterprise is knowledge concerning vision and eye diseases. The consumer of this knowledge is the practicing ophthalmologist. The ultimate beneficiary is the patient with a visual problem, whose treatment is improved through the clinical application of NEI-supported research. In 1962, Research to Prevent Blindness
Ryan SJ. The National Eye Institute. Arch Ophthalmol. 1987;105(5):629-631. doi:10.1001/archopht.1987.01060050047034