Our History & Founder

The Cornea Research Foundation of America (CRFA) was founded as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization (tax ID 31-1243592) by Francis W. Price Jr., M.D. in 1988 with a goal to establish a world center for clinical research and education specializing in corneal disease, corneal transplantation and intraocular lens surgery. A visionary physician, Dr. Price understood that corneal surgeries were increasing, in part, due to complications following cataract surgeries. In response, he created a database to store and track preoperative, surgical and postoperative statistics for transplants performed since 1982 within Price Vision Group.
His efforts were strengthened when the Indiana Lions Eye Bank became involved with the Foundation in 1990. Their contributions and many generous supporters have helped maintain the burgeoning Cornea Transplant Database that now houses data more than 8,000 transplants. Although the Foundation’s primary focus is on transplant data, its mission has evolved to include many other vision research initiatives.

In 1991, the Foundation began participating in FDA Investigational Studies* involving the use of the excimer laser. While previous studies sponsored by excimer manufacturers focused on gaining marketing approval for lasers, Price Vision Group was granted approval for three of its own Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) studies to evaluate the LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileuisis) procedure using the excimer laser. These studies centered on improved patient safety, various therapeutic means to improve visual results, and the effect of age, gender and smoking on visual results, areas that laser manufacturers would not have pursued or funded.

Patient consent is obtained for studies using human subjects. All prospective studies are done with Institutional Review Board approval and in accordance with applicable National Institute of Health and Federal Drug Administration guidelines. To learn more about conducting research, view this article.

Since 2003 the Foundation has been most noteably known for cutting-edge research on small-incision cornea transplant techniques that improve patient outcomes, recovery time and reduce risk of rejection.

Since its inception, the Foundation has been led by Dr. Price’s passion for innovation and lifelong learning. To date, CRFA has participated in 100 clinical and investigational studies and published over 150 papers and manuscripts.  The Foundation also holds regular seminars and courses for physicians, as well as patients, regarding developments in ophthalmology. The Visionary, a newsletter published by the Foundation four times a year, is disseminated to patients, ophthalmologists and optometrists. These contributions have earned the Foundation an international reputation as a leader in ophthalmic research.
* FDA Investigational Studies are carried out on either drugs or devices prior to their approval for sale. 


Our Founder

Francis W. Price, Jr., M.D.

price-(1).jpgDr. Price has served as a principal investigator or medical advisor on over 100 clinical studies on ophthalmic medications and devices, as well as surgical procedures including cornea transplants, glaucoma, cataracts and refractive surgery. He also is a teacher, a frequent lecturer and inventor, holding U.S. patents for special devices used in ophthalmic surgery.  He has authored or co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications.
In 2005, Dr. Price performed the first ever laser-assisted contoured penetrating keratoplasty with the Intralase Laser. Since then, he has helped to develop new techniques and applications for therapeutic applications of the femtosecond laser.  He also has been active in helping develop endothelial keratoplasty techniques as well as teaching these techniques to corneal surgeons with intensive two day courses in Indianapolis, Indiana.

As medical director of the Price Vision Group and President of the CRFA, Dr. Price is an internationally recognized ophthalmic surgeon, and recipient of the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University Of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, and is a 1977 graduate of Indiana University Medical School, where he also completed his residency in ophthalmology. He completed a fellowship in corneal and external disease at Tulane University.