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Fast Facts: Glaucoma Research Foundation

Glaucoma Research Foundation mission: Cure glaucoma and restore vision through innovative research.

  • Founded in 1978
  • $60 million invested in research and education
  • Highest 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator
  • We meet all 20 Better Business Bureau Standards for Charity Accountability
  • Our low overhead allows for 86% of funds to be used for research and education

About Glaucoma

  • It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness
  • Over 3 million Americans have glaucoma and half do not know they have it
  • There are an estimated 60 million cases worldwide - increasing to 80 million by 2030
  • Risk factors include age, family history and African American, Latino or Asian descent
  • There is no cure and there may be no symptoms until vision is irrevocably lost

Research Investment

  • $50 million invested in glaucoma research programs
  • 240 one-year research grants awarded
  • 200+ publications as a result of GRF-funded research
  • Created a unique collaborative research program, Catalyst for a Cure, to speed the pace of discovery

Major Accomplishments

  • The first genetic discovery in glaucoma and the isolation of the TIGR gene, found to be the one responsible for the onset of some forms of glaucoma.
  • Primary Open Angle Glaucoma Family History Project, which funded four researchers to validate the link between family history and glaucoma.
  • Landmark Collaborative Normal Tension Glaucoma Study - the first multicenter clinical trial to document that lowering eye pressures preserves vision, which transformed clinical care and helped countless patients.
  • Founded the innovative Catalyst for a Cure (CFC) consortium, which unites investigators from different disciplines to work together on a multi-year study.
  • The first CFC helped define glaucoma as a neurodegenerative disease and shifted the focus of research to protecting retinal nerve cells.
  • The second CFC team is identifying new biomarkers to indicate the earliest signs of glaucoma and help guide treatment to preserve vision.
  • The team has identified several new biomarkers and is continuing to test and validate these new measures for glaucoma.

Why New Biomarkers are Important

  • New and sensitive biomarkers are urgently needed in glaucoma in order to have better ways to diagnose and treat the disease to better preserve vision.
  • The tools we have now, including measuring eye pressure and visual field tests, can be effective, but are often too late to save vision.
  • A new biomarker will enable doctors to detect glaucoma at its very earliest stages and be able to tell which patients are about to get worse before irreversible vision loss.

Act Now to Preserve Sight

To get ahead of the looming epidemic of blindness from glaucoma in the coming years, we must continue to invest in promising research and vital education programs. If we act now, we have the potential to forever preserve sight and change lives.

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