eyeball

Real estate developer and Los Angeles Kings co-owner Ed Roski Jr. and his wife Gayle donated $25 million to the USC Eye Institute, which will be named in their honor, university officials announced Tuesday.

“Sight is so profoundly important, and we feel fortunate to be in a place where we can help bring the institute to the next level,” said Ed Roski, president of Majestic Realty Co.

The gift is not the first given to USC by the Roskis, who met when they were both undergraduate students at the university. Gayle Roski’s name adorns the school of art and design, and the pair has given money to USC’s athletic and business programs.

Roski is also a minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and participated in the development of Staples Center. He also sits on the USC Board of Trustees.

The Roskis’ latest donation will fund research in the areas of “ocular imaging, drug delivery, dry eye, stem cell therapies and public health and policy,” according to institute director Rohit Varma, who is also the chair of USC’s ophthalmology department and interim dean of the Keck School of Medicine.

The money will also be used to set up a surgical training lab to teach “the next generation of eye surgeons,” Varma said.

Gayle Roski, a watercolor artist whose work has been shown around the world, said she wanted to make the gift because she was successfully treated for cataracts at the Eye Institute.

“As an artist, the most important thing to me is my eyesight,” she said. “Imagine having a yellow lens due to cataracts over your eyes all the time, and then having it removed. The improvement was amazing, and our hope is that this gift helps other people improve their vision.”

Varma called the Roskis’ gift “an incredible vote of confidence in the work we do at the USC Roski Eye Institute.”

The institute has made some inroads into restoring eyesight. A team lead by co-director Mark Humayun created the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis, an eye implant that gives sight to people with blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa.

The $25 million gift is part of $5 billion USC has raised for its academic programs. The university has a $6 billion fundraising goal.

—City News Service

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