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First Annual Glaucoma Patient Summit Inspires and Empowers Patients and Caregivers

Glaucoma Research Foundation hosted our first annual Glaucoma Patient Summit in San Francisco on March 16.

The event, held at the Park Central Hotel, was designed to inspire, inform and educate glaucoma patients and their caregivers, providing a unique forum for learning about the latest treatment options and practical tips for living with glaucoma.

Sessions at the Patient Summit included:

  • Living with Glaucoma - A Patient’s Perspective: Born with congenital glaucoma, Amanda Eddy talked about what it has been like to live with glaucoma all her life, and how her father lost his sight to glaucoma at a young age but persevered; Amanda also shared her hope that better treatments and cures for glaucoma will be coming in her lifetime.
  • Glaucoma Overview (What’s pressure got to do with it?) - presented by Ruth D. Williams, MD (Wheaton Eye Clinic). Dr. Williams discussed the essential information any patient or caregiver needs to know when dealing with a diagnosis of glaucoma. “Information is power, and the greatest power of information is to make you feel more confident in the journey,” she said in her introduction.
  • Current and New Pharmaceutical Treatment Options - presented by L. Jay Katz, MD (Director, Glaucoma Service, Wills Eye Hospital). Dr. Katz discussed the various medication eye drops in use to treat glaucoma, their potential side effects, efficacy and dosage. He also talked about new pharmaceutical options becoming available to patients in the near future. “This is a very exciting time for us in the area of drug therapy for glaucoma,” Dr. Katz said.
  • Current and New Surgical Options - presented by Arsham Sheybani, MD (Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis). Dr. Sheybani reviewed existing surgical treatment options and newer surgical alternatives that have made treatment safer for many patients, depending on the type and severity of their glaucoma.
  • Creating Your Own “A” Team for Care - An expert panel including doctors and patients shared tips and answered questions related to glaucoma diagnosis, ongoing glaucoma management, medication advice, working with your doctor, and developing a personal care team.
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Ask the Experts panel participants

An “Ask the Experts” session covered various topics involved with managing glaucoma and your health:

  • Alternative Therapies were discussed by Shan Lin, MD (Glaucoma Center of San Francisco)
  • Diet and Exercise, as it relates to glaucoma, was covered by Jeffrey SooHoo, MD (University of Colorado School of Medicine)
  • Emotional Impact, Technology Trends, and Your Career was an inspiring talk presented by Gena Harper, who was born with glaucoma and is now a successful financial advisor (and athlete) despite being legally blind.

The final session of the day, Promising Research on the Horizon - The Path to a Cure, was a talk by Yvonne Ou, MD (University of California, San Francisco) that provided an update on the latest glaucoma research.

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Yvonne Ou, MD

She said that there is “a renaissance in glaucoma” with researchers actively working to find new ways to stop vision loss from glaucoma, and to restore vision that has already been lost (something that is not currently possible with today’s treatments).

Close to 200 attendees from across United States and beyond participated in the half-day program. A steering committee consisting of and volunteers (patients and doctors) and Glaucoma Research Foundation staff members planned and produced the first annual event.

Based on the success of the inaugural Patient Summit, plans are already underway to present next year’s Glaucoma Patient Summit in the Chicago area during the Spring of 2020.

Last reviewed on April 10, 2019

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