About Retinal Research



The LuEsther T. Mertz Retinal Research Center's goal is to establish successful forms of treatment and the prevention and cure of Retinal Diseases, the major cause of legal blindness in the United States. With that objective in mind, the Center is involved in clinical research trials, educational and teaching programs as well as outreach and public awareness efforts.

The LuEsther T. Mertz Retinal Research Center is funded by a combination of grants from the National Eye Institute (NEI), pharmaceutical companies and The Macula Foundation, Inc. (endowment).



LuEsther T. Mertz was diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in the early 1980’s; she came looking to MEETH for help.  At that time there was no treatment available for AMD.  However, there was a laser that had been recently developed in Europe that the hospital was looking to buy.  Mrs. Mertz agreed to pay for the laser and give an additional amount equivalent to the payment for the laser to establish a research center for retinal diseases.  Since its establishment in 1984, the LuEsther T. Mertz Retinal Research Center has continued to remain an integral part of the Department of Ophthalmology at MEETH.



Research at the department has always been conducted according to the good clinical practice guidelines and is approved and monitored by the hospital’s Institutional Review Board.  Contracts are reviewed and approved by the hospital; all publications resulting from our research are in the name of MEETH.

Research is divided among six efforts:

  1. (NEI) National Eye Institute Studies.
  2. Clinical trials funded by pharmaceutical companies.
  3. Investigator sponsored studies funded by The Macula Foundation, Inc.
  4. Research and development of Diagnostic Equipment.
  5. Collaborative studies with other prestigious institutions.
  6. Biophysical Medicine.

The primary objective of the Clinical Trials conducted by the LuEsther T. Mertz Retinal Research Center is to identify, coordinate and monitor clinical research studies in retinal and macular diseases.

We are currently conducting clinical trials involving more than 900 subjects. The studies are in various stages of patient involvement- some require on-site follow-up examination and treatment and all studies require approval by an Institutional Review Board (IRB).


The LuEsther T. Mertz Retinal Research Center is located at the prestigious Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital (MEETH) located at 210 East 64th Street in Manhattan, New York, and is primarily funded by The Macula Foundation, Inc.

In addition to sponsoring research, teaching, and outreach projects, the Center actively encourages the exchange of ideas among doctors and scientists who are engaged in similar research. The Center brings people together by regularly organizing meetings, lectures, and symposia. The Center also helps manage the publication and distribution of material related to retinal research.

Volunteers for the Association for Macular Diseases conduct the Center’s public awareness and outreach activities. Many of these volunteers are themselves afflicted with age-related macular degeneration.