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RESEARCH EFFORT TO FIGHT SIGHT-THREATENING DISEASE; 120,000 AMERICANS ALREADY BLINDED BY GLAUCOMA

 RESEARCH EFFORT TO FIGHT SIGHT-THREATENING DISEASE;
 120,000 AMERICANS ALREADY BLINDED BY GLAUCOMA
 SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent Research for Blindness survey indicates blindness is the disability Americans fear most. Glaucoma Awareness Week (Jan. 27 - Feb. 2) highlights the fact that nearly 4 million Americans have glaucoma, and half of them are unaware they have it. More research is needed to control this disease, which has already blinded 120,000 Americans. The Foundation for Glaucoma Research, a non-profit organization, is answering that need by launching the Glaucoma Research Catalyst Program.
 The Glaucoma Research Catalyst Program is a low-overhead, collaborative program to stimulate critical glaucoma research worldwide. In conjunction with the American Glaucoma Society, a national organization of glaucoma specialists, the foundation has assembled a team of experts from various eye health and research disciplines. This team will organize annual multi-disciplinary seminars to determine vital research needs, and distribute funding accordingly. Dr. Douglas R. Anderson, professor of Ophthalmology at Miami's Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and president of the American Glaucoma Society, will chair the team evaluating research priorities for the Catalyst Program. Dr. Anderson anticipates the Catalyst Program will identify research opportunities that are presently not being developed.
 "There is a definite need for more research, especially research to understand the complex types of glaucoma that are difficult to treat. And there are still fundamental questions confronting researchers, such as how does intraocular pressure damage the optic nerve? Can the nerve be made more resistant to pressure? These are some questions we hope to answer through the Catalyst Program."
 The Foundation for Glaucoma Research has a 13-year history of coordinating national and international research, including the Glaucoma Research Eye Donor Network, which provides glaucomatous eye tissue to researchers, and the Normal Tension Glaucoma Study, a widely respected and important international study which the foundation manages and helped design.
 The foundation has been involved in important breakthroughs in glaucoma treatment over the past decade, including an implant designed to help encourage fluid outflow from the eye. The foundation also participates in clinical trials using lasers to replace standard cutting surgery.
 Dr. H. Dunbar Hoskins, president of the foundation, and clinical professor of Ophthalmology at University of California, San Francisco, is optimistic about the foundation's involvement with the American Glaucoma Society. "This is a groundbreaking collaboration that will make a definite impact on the treatment and prevention of glaucoma."
 The Foundation for Glaucoma Research is a national, tax-exempt organization dedicated to protecting the sight of people with glaucoma through research and education. For further information on glaucoma the public may contact: Foundation for Glaucoma Research, 490 Post Street, Suite 830M, San Francisco, CA 94102.
 Glaucoma is a "plumbing problem" in the eye. The fluid produced in the eye does not drain properly, in most cases causing a build-up of pressure. This increased pressure damages the optic nerve at the back of the eye.
 -0- 1/27/92
 /CONTACT: Lisa Wagreich of the Foundation for Glaucoma Research, 415-986-3162/ CO: Foundation for Glaucoma Research ST: California IN: HEA SU:


RM -- SF002 -- 3579 01/27/92 09:30 EST
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Date:Jan 27, 1992
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