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Ophthalmology Professor Bob Massof Receives Helen Keller Prize - 05/06/2015

Ophthalmology Professor Bob Massof Receives Helen Keller Prize

Release Date: May 6, 2015
Bob Massof, Ph.D.
Bob Massof, Ph.D.
Credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Bob Massof, Ph.D., of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins received the 2015 Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research on May 5. The award, named for the American woman who impressed the world with her courage and determination to overcome blindness and deafness, was jointly presented by the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education and the BrightFocus Foundation, which supports research and education on diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Massof, a professor of ophthalmology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the director of the Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center at the Wilmer Eye Institute, is known for multiple contributions to low-vision rehabilitation research, notably on outcomes assessment in low vision. He helped develop the first head-mounted system to aid the visually impaired and created the Activity Inventory, a rating scale to determine visual functioning that has been used in clinical studies throughout the world. 

“Being named a Helen Keller Laureate is a humbling experience, and being able to share the award with Gordon Legge [of the University of Minnesota] is a high honor,” says Massof. “The two of us have devoted most of our careers to the study of low vision, i.e., chronic disabling visual impairments, and I am particularly gratified that by recognizing our work, this award also recognizes the field of low vision research.

“Our work in low vision at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute has been supported by generous contributions from the Lions Clubs of Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia. This award is particularly fitting, because 90 years ago it was Helen Keller who challenged the Lions to serve as knights of the blind.”

Helen Keller’s great-grandniece, Keller Johnson-Thompson, awarded the prize at a Denver ceremony. The event coincided with the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.