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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2011
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

CLINICIAN-SCIENTIST SPEAKS ABOUT GLAUCOMA PROGRESSION AND CONDUCTS REAL-TIME IMAGING OF THE EYE IN AEVR BRIEFING HELD DURING WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK 2011

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) announced that its Decade of Vision 2010-2020 Initiative is hosting a Congressional Briefing entitled Glaucoma: Understanding Disease Progressionto be held Wednesday, March 9, 2011, from 12 Noon – 1:30 pm in House Rayburn B-340. RSVP to Dina Beaumont at dinabeau@aol.com.

The briefing, being held during World Glaucoma Week 2011 (March 6-12), is co-sponsored by the American Glaucoma Society, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Glaucoma Research Foundation, Optometric Glaucoma Society, Prevent Blindness America, and The Glaucoma Foundation. It features National Eye Institute (NEI)-funded clinician-scientist Joel S. Schuman, M.D., F.A.C.S. He will describe the nature of glaucoma as a complex neurodegenerative disease and report on the latest research into progression of the disease, for example, how structural changes detected by advanced imaging techniques, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), may correlate with changes in vision. He will conduct real-time imaging of the eye using OCT, courtesy of Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc.

In 2008 and 2010, the glaucoma research community came together in meetings sponsored jointly by the NEI and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discuss the latest in NEI-funded glaucoma research and how those findings could potentially support the approval of new drug and device diagnostics and therapies for the disease.

Glaucoma, a progressive disease of the optic nerve that robs individuals of both peripheral and central vision, is the second leading cause of preventable vision loss in the United States, afflicting 2.2 million Americans, and the leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide, afflicting 67 million individuals. It often has no symptoms until vision loss occurs. NEI estimates that, in the US, more than half of the individuals with glaucoma are unaware they have it. Glaucoma affects all age groups and disproportionately affects underserved minority populations, with African-Americans having a three times greater risk of developing it than White Americans. It is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in African-Americans and Hispanics. The first World Glaucoma Day was held on March 6, 2008, and the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 981, which recognized the event and supported NEI’s efforts to research the causes of and treatments for glaucoma. The day has expanded into a week of events held worldwide.

Joel S. Schuman, M.D., F.A.C.S., is the Eye and Ear Foundation Professor and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He also directs the UMPC Eye Center, serves as a Professor of Bioengineering, and has founded the Center’s Glaucoma Imaging Group, in which researchers examine the structure-function relationship in glaucoma and other diseases of the eye through the use of cutting-edge imaging technology.

The Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation, is proud to announce this program associated with its Decade of Vision 2010-2020 Initiative, a sustained educational effort acknowledged by Congress that recognizes the benefits of federally funded vision research. Visit its Web site at www.eyeresearch.org

American Glaucoma Society’s (AGS) mission is to promote excellence in the care of patients with glaucoma and to preserve or enhance vision by supporting glaucoma specialists and scientists through the advancement of education and research. www.glaucomaweb.org

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include more than 12,500 eye and vision researchers from 70 countries. The Association encourages and assists research, training, publication, and dissemination of knowledge in vision and ophthalmology. www.arvo.org

Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) is a non-profit organization located in San Francisco dedicated solely to glaucoma research and education. In addition to funding innovative research like the Catalyst for a Cure research consortium and its Shaffer Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research, GRF also is the “go to” agency for educational materials, including the definitive reference for the newly diagnosed, Understanding and Living With Glaucoma (available in both English and Spanish editions), a special brochure serving those at highest risk, including African Americans, Latinos, and children. www.glauacoma.org

Optometric Glaucoma Society’s (OGS) mission is to promote excellence in the care of glaucoma patients through professional education and scientific investigation. Its major objectives are to promote education of optometrists; promote the acquisition of new knowledge about glaucoma; facilitate the dissemination of information about glaucoma to health-care providers and the public; and establish collaborative relationships with other related organizations. www.optometricglaucomasociety.org

Prevent Blindness America (PBA), founded in 1908, is the nation's leading patient and consumer advocate dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, PBA touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. Together with a network of affiliates, divisions and chapters, it is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. www.preventblindness.org

The Glaucoma Foundation’s (TGF) mission is to fund groundbreaking research and to educate the public about the disease and the importance of early detection to prevent blindness. Founded in 1984 by Dr. Robert Ritch, TGF is one of the premier not-for-profit organizations dedicated to eradicating blindness from glaucoma through vital research and education. www.glaucomafoundation.org