Message from the Director

Portrait of John Brabyn holding a lens

Sixty years ago, in 1963, Smith-Kettlewell was established to foster collaborations between basic and clinical researchers addressing vision and its impairments, in a collegial and mutually supportive environment that is independent of any larger organization or profession.  Uniquely encompassing both ophthalmology and optometry, as well as rehabilitation and the various scientific disciplines involved in vision research, and facilitating full-time concentration on research without teaching responsibilities, this model has resulted in an impact on the field out of all proportion to the Institute’s size.  

Pioneering individuals and achievements that Smith-Kettlewell has produced during the past 60 years are legion. Many trainees and scientists have achieved fame at the Institute, while others have gone on to become academic department heads, accessibility evangelists in hi-tech industry or directors of federal research agencies. A torrent of influential inventions, concepts and techniques have emerged from the Institute’s laboratories, from tests and interventions for eye conditions affecting infants and children to practical tools for blind people of all ages at home, school and work.   

During this 60th Anniversary year, we plan to strengthen the foundations for the next 60 years. A major two-day scientific symposium on Translational Research in Functional Vision and Accessibility (FVA) will explore emerging problems and promising techniques for the future in our field. Jampolsky Day, named for our founder, will be celebrated in collaboration with the Pacific Vision Foundation. A Smith-Kettlewell Symposium will be held at the international CLADE meeting in Peru. Additional events will provide opportunities for our staff, Fellows and Trainees to participate in the celebration. We will also launch new long-term programs to support students and young scientists, pilot research projects in vision and its rehabilitation, and high risk innovative research.

We look forward to a great year and an exciting future. We would like to express our gratitude to all our colleagues, friends, supporters and alumni and invite you to participate to the full in enjoyment of this anniversary. 


John Brabyn, PhD

Chief Executive Officer, The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute