The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education continues the work to which its namesake dedicated her life.  It is from her achievements that we draw our inspiration.  And our global efforts to end blindness and deafness through medical research are a result of her belief that no matter what the obstacle anything is possible.

Our Mission Statement
Based on the legacy of Helen Keller, the Foundation strives to prevent blindness and deafness by advancing research and education.  The Foundation aspires to be a leader in integrating sight, speech and hearing research with the greater biomedical research community, creating and coordinating a peer-reviewed, worldwide network of investigators and institutions.

Our Values and Beliefs

  • We are inspired by and dedicated to the legacy of Helen Keller.

  • We are aware of the optimism, courage and perseverance needed to meet her calls to action.

  • We are committed to integrating research and education with medical care and rehabilitation to prevent blindness and deafness and to alleviate sight and hearing loss.

  • We believe that research will substantially reduce the worldwide societal impact of sight and hearing loss.

Our Goals

  • Integrate laboratory and clinical research to advance the state of vision and hearing research worldwide.

  • Conduct a program of public education on the legacy of Helen Keller emphasizing vision and hearing awareness and the importance of medical research.

  • Develop funding resources and a public relations effort sufficient to support an effective global research and education program.

Our History
In 1888, a world burst open in the form of a splash of water in the hand of a young blind and deaf girl at a well in Tuscumbia, Alabama.  She instantly learned that water and other things have names, and she later called it “the birthday of my soul”.  Exactly a century later in 1988, Helen Keller’s family joined a group of committed scientists to form a foundation in her now famous name, and in her home state, with the mission of continuing her victories over blindness and deafness through research and education.

HKFRE Character Education Video 2015

The Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education is a proven entity with a track record of substantial accomplishments, out of proportion to its size.  Using donated funds responsibly (78.1% to program services, excluding in-kind services) to achieve targeted results, accomplishments to date include:

  • Created a surgical technique that revolutionized surgery on the macula, the human center of vision, now used worldwide.

  • Spawned development of ocular traumatology (eye injury) as a new subspecialty of ophthalmology.

  • Proved that the recently injured eye with no light perception (NLP) can often be restored to useful vision instead of being abandoned or removed.

  • Defined the disease of Degenerative Vitreous Syndrome or Vitreous Opacity Syndrome (severe “floaters”) and described a safe surgical technique for its treatment (Buckler Award, American Society of Retina Specialists, 2007).

  • Developed a laser technique that prevents retinal detachment in high-risk eyes with greater than 95% certainty (ready for clinical trial design).

  • Developed a permanent cure to save central vision in diabetic macular edema, the leading cause of sight loss in the developed world (ready for clinical trial design).

  • Developed a surgical eye treatment that reduces scar tissue complications (PVR) in retinal detachment repair by 88% (clinical trial has been designed – ready for NIH submission).

  • Developed a laser technique that offers a permanent cure for those over 65 who develop stroke of the eye (ready for clinical trial design).

  • Developed an operation called “Mobilize and Move Vitrectomy” (M&M) to restore vision to macular degeneration patients who suffer sudden, complete loss of central vision due to hemorrhage (ready for publication).

  • Developed a new treatment paradigm, “Complete and Early Vitrectomy for Endophthalmitis” (CEVE) to save eyes suffering severe infection after cataract surgery (ready for one-armed clinical trial design).

  • Created the Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research (ultimately capable of becoming the “Nobel Prize” of vision) that enjoys great credibility among the world community of vision researchers.

  • Since 1994, the Character Education Program has presented to over 500,000 children in 3,000+ schools in every Alabama County and throughout North America and Europe.