When Dr. Newton K. Wesley was diagnosed with keratoconus, a warping of the cornea that impacted his vision and would have led to his blindness, he understood that the treatment he was seeking for himself could only be found through education and research.
History confirms he was right.
The emphasis that Dr. Newton Wesley placed on those things in the 1940s while he was chasing innovations in contact lenses is the same emphasis that ICO is placing on education and research today to mark its sesquicentennial year, thanks to a generous donation from Dr. Roy Wesley, Newton’s son, himself an OD with a PhD in cellular molecular biology to boot. The valuing of education and research clearly runs in the family.
“Dad, of course, had a history with ICO and taught there and recruited students with the same diagnosis specifically to work on this problem. He understood that when your own personal needs are addressed, you can apply the solution to others who have the same needs.”
Dr. Roy Wesley is looking forward to the naming ceremony and opening of the Dr. Newton K. Wesley Research Center on ICO’s campus, made possible after the Newton K. Wesley Foundation pledged a financial commitment in 2016 to preserve the elder Dr. Wesley’s legacy, including his passion for research and education.
The Center will enable ICO’s students, residents, and faculty to further ophthalmic research, expand clinicaltrials, and address those emerging and unmet vision needs that exist today, just like Dr. Newton Wesley did for keratoconus in the 1940s, though in a much more sophisticated and state-of-the-art facility than the apartment basement where he conducted much of his research!
Dr. Roy Wesley is thrilled and could not be prouder, as he values education and research in the same way his father did, to donate to ICO, “Education is such an important part of our culture. The only way we will breach the divide we have is by investing in education. It is vital to understanding science and to avoid losing a shared scientific truth. Research is key and education is fundamental. We must maintain our standards of what is known and acknowledged as truth, scientific and otherwise.”
As an optometrist himself, Dr. Roy Wesley wants others in the field to feel empowered and committed to give back to the profession that has enriched the lives of so many professionals, “The work of optometrists requires education and hard effort. Everybody who has worked in the field can be grateful for the tools they have to do the job. We have a responsibility to give back and should not forget the hard work institutions like ICO put in to provide the services they do, both for students and for patients. Be grateful and give back."