The gift will enable UC Irvine Health to boost resources for ongoing investigations at the institute, including research related to a stem cell therapy for retinitis pigmentosa that represents hope for people who live with the potentially blinding condition; stem cell research aimed at developing a treatment for dry eyes; and a study that is investigating the use of collagen cross-linking as an alternative to corneal transplantation in people with keratoconus, a progressive thinning and changing in shape of the cornea that affects eyesight.
A longtime supporter of UCI, Gleis, who will be 104 in September, has contributed a total of $19 million to the university in support of the arts and neurology and ophthalmology research. In 2007, she and her son, Allergan founder Gavin Herbert, made a $10 million naming gift to establish the eye institute.
"Mrs. Gleis has changed the landscape for vision treatment locally and around the world through her transformational support of UC Irvine Health's premier eye institute," said Roger Steinert, Irving H. Leopold Professor of Ophthalmology and director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute. "Thanks to her generosity, Orange County residents have access to world-class eye care without leaving the community. And when we find ways to eradicate preventable blindness, we will owe her a debt of gratitude for her steadfast support of vital research."