"A passion for research. A commitment to care."

The Foundation for Vision Research is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization located in Grand Rapids, Michigan that raises funds for research targeting treatments and cures for retinal diseases. We conduct research and participate in clinical trials to gain a greater understanding of the causes of retinal diseases, develop better ways to treat and control them, and ultimately, we hope, to prevent these illnesses from occurring. We educate patients and physicians to bring innovative treatments to our community.

Our organization was founded by the physicians at Retina Specialists of Michigan to provide the best care to patients in West Michigan and support the broader advancement of retinal science.

The Foundation’s purpose is clear and focused: To drive the research that will lead to preventions, treatments, and vision restoration for the spectrum of degenerative retinal diseases.

The diseases we focus on are: macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, ocular melanoma, radiation retinopathy, uveitis, and inherited retinal diseases.

The Foundation supports strategic relationships with commercial entities to advance the development of emerging compounds, i.e. potential drug treatments, for retinal degenerative diseases. If supported by research outcomes, the Foundation helps advance those treatments into viable commercial products available to patients.

Our hope is that the work of Foundation for Vision Research will:

  • Enable more patients to receive cutting-edge care years before it becomes available to the general public, especially those who would otherwise be unable to afford or access these types of medications and technologies.
  • Expand and develop new treatments and approaches that help save our patient's vision.
  • Contribute to the research and understanding within our industry on a national and global scale.
  • Educate area doctors and patients in West Michigan by sharing the information we learn from research.

The study provides me with a possible path to vision improvement.  The FVR staff has been very caring and sensitive to my needs - a most positive experience.


I consider participating in this clinical trial as a privilege and am most satisfied with the care I receive. 


Slowly losing my vision to macular degeneration has been very difficult and at times depressing.  Participating in this study has been such a positive experience for me. One in which I hope will lead to a potential new treatment for macular degeneration. 


Meet The Team

We are a team of natural-born problem solvers motivated by compassion. We’re excited about the future of retinal and vision care — both how we can provide cutting-edge technologies to our patients and support the broader advancement of clinical discovery.



Dr. Thomas Aaberg, MD

Investigator & Board President

Dr. Scott Westhouse, DO

Investigator & Board Member

Dr. Nathan Pezda, MD

Investigator & Board Treasurer

Dr. Liliya Sutherland, DO

Investigator & Board Secretary

Dr. Joseph Boss, MD


Tim Alles

Board Member

Alita Hassan

Board Member

Research Team

Holly Vincent

Lead Research Coordinator

Will Thompson

Research Coordinator

Eric Hederstedt

Research Coordinator

Barb Hart

Executive Director