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Ophthalmology was born in the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, in Quebec City. Laval University was the first one in Canada to teach this medical field to future doctors. The first Ophthalmology and ORL department was created in this institution more than a century ago (in the year 1885).

In 1979, Dr Alain Rousseau creates the Foundation in collaboration with two members of the International Lions Clubs, Mrs. Vincent Michaud and Gilles Jobidon. The original term was « Fondation pour la Recherche sur les Maladies de l'oeil » (Foundation for Research on Eye Diseases) but it was commonly called « Formoeil ». The denomination later became « Fondation des maladies de l'oeil » (Eye Disease Foundation).

In the seventies, competition to get grants from the main granting organisms such as RMC was very important. At this time, the Foundation was aiming to provide an independent financial support for research on eye diseases (and still today). Struggling against vision loss and providing worldwide eye care is part of the mission of the Lions clubs. This is why this organism naturally associated with the eye disease foundation. 

On October 19th, in 1981, a 30 000 USD grant from the International Lions Clubs Foundation allowed the creation of an eye laboratory in Laval University. It was unveiled on October 4th in 1983, with a second financial help of 65 000 USD from the Social Affair Department. It was an electrophysiology lab aiming to understand the toxic effects of various medications on the eye. Few years later, this laboratory was renamed "Laboratoire Émilien Proulx" in the memory of a blind Lion who had passed away shortly before.

The first fundraising event was made possible thanks to a collaboration with the Lions Clubs from the east of the province and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Each fall, members of the RCMP were performing a 10 km run on the Plains of Abraham. They wanted to make it for a good cause, a rare thing at this time. They asked to the Lions Clubs who put them in touch with the Eye Disease Foundation. On the first edition, they gathered 3 000 $. On the subsequent editions, more people from the public joined the RCMP to make this yearly activity a growing fundraising event.

The Eye Disease Foundation would like to thank the Lions Clubs for their unconditional support. So far, it has been crucial for the progression and development of research on eye diseases.

Pictures taken when the Lion Laboratory was launched.

Check offered by the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

In 1972, Dr Alain Rousseau created the JOUL (Laval University ophthalmology conference), a medical education activity for ophthalmologists.

From left to right: Ides Dubé, Gilles Coté, Jacques Boulanger, Jean Lacerte, Jules François, Jacques Dugré, Alain Rousseau and Paul Delisle.