MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

The UW-Madison medical school has laid off all 60 employees from a nationally known eye research center that had run up a deficit of $4.6 million.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the Fundus Photograph Reading Center faces an uncertain future after its staff was told of the layoffs Oct. 14.

UW health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette says four of the 60 employees either retired or were reassigned.

Started in 1972, the center assists in research trials of treatments for macular degeneration and other retina diseases. The newspaper says details are scarce about what led to its downfall.

Medical school dean Robert Golden apologized in an Oct. 21 meeting with laid-off Fundus employees, and told them he was not aware until recently how serious the center's financial problems had become.