Barbara Klein, MD, MPH, and Ronald Klein, MD, MPH, Honored at ARVO

Dr. Barbara Klein, professor, and the late Dr. Ronald Klein were honored with a symposium, “Epidemiology of Diabetic Retinopathy and Age-related Macular Degeneration: Past, Present and Future,” at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Virtual Meeting on May 5. The Kleins led two landmark longitudinal epidemiologic studies that laid the groundwork for much of our current understanding of vision impairment and its leading causes, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.

Dr. Ronald Klein and Barbara Klein


The symposium details below are courtesy of

Wednesday, May 5, 9-11am EDT

Epidemiology of diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration: Past, present and future
Organizers: Robert Finger and Nicole Carnt
Speakers: Lloyd Paul Aiello, Tien Wong, Barbara Klein, Caroline Klaver and Emily Chew

Over the past few decades, extraordinary progress has been made in understanding the epidemiology of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), with much of the groundwork laid by Professors Ronald and Barbara Klein. It is hard to think of another couple who have had a similar prolific and prodigious impact in Ophthalmology and vision research. Their combined work has yielded a rich array of extraordinarily important insights into the epidemiology of these two ocular pathologies. They established groundbreaking cohort studies, such as the Wisconsin Epidemiology Study of Diabetic Retinopathy (WESDR) and Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES), and have been at the forefront of new advances in Ophthalmology and vision research, including imaging, genetics and disentangling gene-environment interactions. The world is facing an unprecedented age shift and this “silver tsunami” has grave consequences for current and future approaches for clinical ophthalmic epidemiology for DR and AMD, notwithstanding the potential, but uncertain, roles of new retinal treatments, gene therapy, big data and artificial intelligence. This symposium brings together a platform of highly esteemed retinal epidemiologists and clinician scientists who have trained or collaborated with the Kleins and will share how the couple’s body of work has shaped our understanding about these two ocular pathologies. They will discuss past achievements, current challenges and future research in risk, diagnosis, treatment and management of DR and AMD, while celebrating this unique opportunity to acknowledge our collective gratitude to Ronald and Barbara Klein for their extraordinary contribution to clinical ocular epidemiology and ophthalmic research.