Collaboration and a sense of community make a profound difference for everyone affected by glaucoma: patients, families and caregivers, doctors, scientists, vision industry leaders. To experience it yourself, attend one of Glaucoma Research Foundation’s annual events, which celebrate progress, possibilities, insight, and hope.
Glaucoma 360, our signature event, has become a destination for discovering the latest progress toward a cure. Each year, nationally and internationally respected pioneers in the fields of vision research, business, and medical innovation come together to share insights, spark new ideas, and accelerate advances in glaucoma science and treatment. Specialists in diagnosis and care offer continuing education courses for their colleagues. Research pioneers report on their lab work and clinical trials. This exciting three-day event includes activities to celebrate, innovate and educate:
• An annual gala: Honoring outstanding leadership in ophthalmology, inspiring individuals who are living with glaucoma, and the transformative generosity of our supporters (many of them patients and their loved ones).
• New Horizons Forum: A full day of presentations, panels, and discussions dedicated to translating new ideas into better glaucoma therapy, for industry executives, CEOs from start-up companies, ophthalmic leaders, venture capitalists, and representatives from the Food and Drug Administration.
• Glaucoma Symposium CME: A gathering for practicing ophthalmologists, ophthalmology residents, and fellows, highlighting the latest advances in glaucoma management, medications, and surgical techniques.
• Optometric Glaucoma Symposium: A meeting for practicing optometrists highlighting the latest advances in glaucoma management.
When you face a complex illness that threatens your vision, knowledge is a powerful resource. Our annual Glaucoma Patient Summit is a live forum that shares the latest treatment options and practical insights. This popular event attracts a diverse community, from people born with glaucoma to the newly diagnosed to those who have lived with glaucoma for many years. Patients and caregivers connect and share their experiences, learn more about glaucoma, and hear about emerging pharmaceutical and surgical approaches.
Phillip Edward Van Lear:
I think every glaucoma patient will have that moment, that crystallized moment when they say, “You know, something isn’t right.”
For me, it was the year of 2000, sitting in the box seats at Wrigley Field, watching my beloved Cubs. I notice that the left lens seemed just a little foggy. I was diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma in 2000, but thank God nothing really changed. I was able to continue with both the coaching career and the acting and directing career.
In 2015 that changed dramatically when my diagnosis went from just open-angle glaucoma to acute end-stage glaucoma. Well, that altered my life, both as an artist, as a husband, father, friend, grandfather, and as a coach.
Glaucoma, though not a death sentence is a life sentence. For me I think it’s just the loss of what I was so used to seeing around me. The contrast between the blue of the sky and the green of the trees. On a very personal level, of course, I miss seeing clearly the faces of my family, my wife, my bride’s, beautiful face. The faces of my children, my grandchildren.
I would not be completely honest if I didn’t say that. There are moments with my wife and I where we weep over the sadness, just over the heaviness of losing my sight.
I’ve had seven surgeries, two on my left eye, which is now completely no vision at all. Just gray, and then seven surgeries on my right eye where I have about 3% vision left peripherally. At one time, I believe I was taking nine drops daily. Disease knows not stature, race, creed, color, or nationality.
Glaucoma is a human disease. It touches everyone. There are so many people out there that are in this fight with me. That’s you big pharma. That’s you medical professionals. That’s you, lobbyists and legislators. That’s you, medical social workers. That’s you, venture capitalists. That’s you wanting to make a change, wanting to leave a legacy.
Please, please be encouraged. We want that. As a glaucoma patient now for 22 years and hopefully longer. We want you to be excited about it. We want you to be all jacked up about finding a cure.
If I could say anything to you is just think about that — with all the challenges, with the pitfalls, the disappointments, the setbacks — the future is bright.