Highlights and Achievements

The Beginning

In 1978, Drs. Shaffer, Hoskins, and Hetherington founded the Glaucoma Research Foundation, now America’s oldest and most experienced nonprofit dedicated solely to its mission to cure glaucoma.

Shaffer Glaucoma Fellowship Established

The Shaffer Glaucoma Fellowship was established by GRF founder and world-renowned glaucoma specialist Dr. Robert N. Shaffer to inspire young ophthalmologists to study glaucoma.

Gleams Newsletter Published

Gleams, GRF’s free newsletter, was first published in 1982. Today, Gleams reaches 130,000 subscribers in print and email editions.

Understanding Glaucoma Booklet – First Edition

The first edition of the guide Understanding and Living with Glaucoma is published. Today, 22 editions have been printed and millions of booklets have been distributed.

First Glaucoma Research Catalyst Meeting

In 1992, GRF convened researchers for the first Glaucoma Research Catalyst Meeting. Over the years, GRF would hold more Catalyst Meetings to inspire research innovation.

Website Debut

The GRF website launched in 1996 as a comprehensive resource for patients and researchers. Today, our website has four million visits annually.

Researchers Isolate TIRG Gene

In a GRF-funded collaborative study, researchers isolate the TIGR gene, found to be responsible for some forms of juvenile and adult glaucoma.

GRF Funded Collaborative Normal Tension Glaucoma Study

GRF funded the Collaborative Normal-Tension Glaucoma Study, the first multi-center clinical trial that documented the effectiveness of lowering IOP to prevent vision loss.

Researchers Stimulate Damaged Optic Nerve

With funding from GRF, researchers at Children’s Hospital and Harvard University Medical School in Boston, MA uncover a way to stimulate the damaged optic nerve and thus regenerate the nerve to a much greater extent than ever before.

Researchers Study Way To Protect Optic Nerve

With project funding provided by GRF, the Weizmann Institute of Science researchers in Rehovot, Israel, conduct a study demonstrating that vaccination with a compound normally used to treat multiple sclerosis may be able to protect the optic nerve.

Catalyst For A Cure Research Program Commences

The Catalyst for a Cure research program commenced in 2002, an innovative approach in which scientists at 4 prestigious university laboratories work in real-time collaboration to speed progress toward a cure.

Hypotheses Reported For How Glaucoma Is Initiated

Catalyst for a Cure research team reports development of three new hypotheses for how glaucoma is initiated and where new therapeutic targets can be found.

Study Shows That Glaucoma Shares Common Characteristics

Catalyst for a Cure studies indicate glaucoma shares common characteristics with other neurological disorders.

Presentations At International Eye Research Meeting

GRF-funded scientists make 20 presentations at major international eye research meeting.

Researchers Conduct Effective Interventions

GRF-funded researchers conduct two effective interventions in a model of glaucoma.

First International Catalyst Meeting

GRF holds international Catalyst Meeting in which leading experts discuss and share ideas for new directions in glaucoma research.

First Sign Of Injury In Glaucoma

Calkins laboratory at Vanderbilt reports in published study that the first sign of injury in glaucoma occurs in the brain.

A Window Of Opportunity

Catalyst for a Cure researchers identify a window of opportunity for preventing vision loss in the very early stages of glaucoma progression.

The Inaugural Glaucoma 360

The annual Glaucoma 360 event launched in 2012 to inspire philanthropy, innovation, and collaboration toward development of new therapies and diagnostics for glaucoma patients.

Second CFC Team Recruited

In 2021, GRF recruited a second team of Catalyst for a Cure scientists to identify and test new speccific and sensitive biomarkers to detect and monitor glaucoma.

A Critical “Tipping Point” Reported

CFC research team reports that the onset and speed of vision loss in glaucoma depends upon a critical “tipping point” that involves a delicate balance between the metabolism of the retina and optic nerve and communication between individual cells.

New Glaucoma Biomarkers Identified

CFC ressearchers identify new glaucoma biomarkers and develop technology to accurately measure biomarkers in glaucoma patients.

Early Retina Cell Changes Identified

Early retina cell changes in glaucoma identified by Catalyst for a Cure research lab. Published study points to the specific structural features and cell types in the retina that may act as key factors in glaucoma progression.

Third CFC Team Recruited

A new team of Catalyst for a Cure researchers embark upon vision restoration and finding a curefor glaucoma based on work of their predecessors.

Possible New Therapies Reported

Researchers in the Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration team report in a study published December 14, 2020 in PNAS (The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) that by inhibiting a particular family of enzymes, it may be possible to develop new therapies for treating neurodegenerative diseases including glaucoma and Alzheimer’s.

Fourth CFC Team Recruited

A fourth team of Catalyst for a Cure researchers aim to prevent and cure neurodegeneration by studying similarities between diseases like glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS.