Skybridge at Karalis Johnson Retina Center
Eight years in the planning, the Roger and Angie Karalis Johnson Retina Center officially opened for clinical care and research on January 9. In celebration of this historic event, principal donor Angie Karalis Johnson alongside UW Medicine CEO, Paul Ramsey, MD and Department of Ophthalmology Chair Russell Van Gelder, MD, PhD gathered with physicians, community members, and friends to honor this phenomenal gift and celebrate the Center’s grand opening. The Karalis Johnson Retina Center will provide state-of-the-art clinical care and cutting-edge research in retinal disease. The opening of this clinic is the largest expansion for the UW Department of Ophthalmology in over a decade and is the first clinical facility to open in the brand new South Lake Union 3.2 building.
The retina is the sensor of the eye which converts focused light into electrical neural impulses that communicate to the brain. Most blindness in the US is due to diseases of the retina. Three leading causes of blindness include age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in the US), diabetic retinopathy (the most frequent cause of vision loss in working-age adults), and hereditary or inherited retinal degeneration (the most common inherited cause of blindness).
The Karalis Johnson Retina Center is the first dedicated retinal clinical and research facility in the Northwest is just one of a small handful of such centers in the country. The center will be staffed by two full-time ophthalmologists with subspecialty training in retinal disease as well as one optometrist with expertise in low vision rehabilitation. The latest equipment occupying the clinic will equip providers to perform the most advanced retinal diagnostic tests and procedures.
The Karalis Johnson Retina Center was made possible by an extremely generous lead gift from benefactor, Angie Karalis Johnson. Mrs. Johnson spent her career working with her late husband, Emeritus Clinical Professor Roger Johnson, MD in their busy and successful Seattle ophthalmology practice. During this time, Mrs. Johnson came to know the huge impact retinal blindness had on their patients, and resolved to work toward a world where retinal disease would be cured. The mission of the Center is to provide patient’s with the best possible care, and to advance that care through rigorous scientific research. To read more about Mrs. Johnson’s generous gift, click here.
The UW Medicine Department of Ophthalmology will be forever grateful for this wonderful gift made by Angie Karalis Johnson and her vision to find a cure for all types of retinal diseases.