Eye to Eye Exhibit Opens at the Natural History Museum of Utah

May 13, 2015 1:00 AM

Inter-Disciplinary Collaboration at the U of U Makes New Exhibit Possible 

Eye to Eye: Re-visioning Eye Disease is an interactive exhibit that explores stories of eye disease in Utah and celebrates the many ways that people thrive by using their other senses and technology to adapt to low vision. As part of the Utah Futures gallery at the Natural History Museum of Utah, the exhibit also explores modern treatments that restore clear vision and the John A. Moran Eye Center’s efforts to make them available globally. It also examines exciting research on new treatments for corneal disease by Utah-based Jade Therapeutics.

Blinding Conditions & First-Hand Experiences

The exhibit focuses on four blinding conditions: corneal blindness, cataracts, retinal degeneration, and glaucoma and features the experience of a Moran cornea transplant patient. In addition, it showcases Moran’s international outreach work restoring sight to patients in Nepal.

As part of the exhibit design process, Corinna Trujillo Tanner, RN, MSN, of Moran’s Patient Support Program shared her experiences adapting to life with retinal degeneration. She joined with Moran’s patient support program director, Lisa Ord, PhD, LCSW, to provide insight and guidance into some of the ways people thrive with low vision.

Visitors can “experience” the challenges of low vision through hands-on exercises such as wearing goggles that simulate blinding conditions and then trying to complete everyday tasks, such as fitting keys in locks. They are also challenged to identify smells and fit blocks into designated openings through touch alone. “The goggles really provide a dramatic simulation of low vision,” says Dr. Ord. “We use them in our support program to show family and friends of those suffering from conditions such as cataracts or diabetic retinopathy how the condition affects vision.”

Eye to Eye began with Elpitha Tsoutsounakis’s class of University of Utah Multi-Disciplinary Design students exploring innovative designs for an exhibit on vision. The students’ proposals informed the current exhibit developed by three student interns. The project was funded by a first-of-its-kind grant from the University’s Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars.

Moran’s Dr. Barbara Wirostko is the CSO and co-founder of Jade Therapeutics, which is one of the partners on this project.

Project Partners

Jade Therapeutics, Inc.

John A. Moran Eye Center

Natural History Museum of Utah

University of Utah Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars

University of Utah Multi-Disciplinary Design Program

The exhibit will be on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah through December 31, 2015. Admission to the Museum is free for all University of Utah students, staff, and faculty with a valid U of U ID.