We're helping rid the world of preventable blindness by awarding grants to Massachusetts institutions conducting research related to the prevention and cure of eye-related diseases. We've been making a difference in people's lives since 1952. Back then, there was a mysterious eye disease afflicting premature babies. It was known as "baby blindness" and had first been reported at the Boston Lying-In Hospital (known today as Brigham and Women's) in 1940. By the early 1950s, 2500 babies a year were losing their vision from baby blindness! The first MLERFi grant (for $5000) was awarded to Harvard Medical School. The grant helped confirm the discovery that Retinopathy Of Prematurity (ROP) was caused by too much oxygen in the incubators used to save the “preemies” lives. The solution was to install a valve in the incubators that controlled the flow of oxygen. The cost of the valve: a mere five cents. As a result, the disease known as blind baby disease was practically eradicated. Over 165,000 babaies have not been blinded thanks to that one discovery!