Foundation Fighting Blindness

Foundation Fighting Blindness
Foundation Fighting Blindness
Formation 1971
Type Non-Profit
Purpose/focus Fund research that will lead to preventions, treatments, and cures for retinal degenerative diseases.
Headquarters Columbia, Maryland
Website Official Website

The mission of the Foundation Fighting Blindness is to fund research that will lead to preventions, treatments, and cures for retinal degenerative diseases including: retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and Stargardt disease. These diseases affect more than 10 million Americans and millions more throughout the world. These conditions often lead to severe vision loss or complete blindness.[1]

The Foundation Fighting Blindness was founded as the National Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation in 1971 by Bernard and Beverly Berman, and a team of 6 other dedicated leaders to find cures for retinal degenerations at a time when very little was known about retinal degeneration. Blind from retinitis pigmentosa, Gund is Chairman of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Gund Investment Corporation.[2] He is former majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers (National Basketball Association) and former owner of the San Jose Sharks (National Hockey League). Berman died in 1996.

Through private individual contributions, corporate philanthropy and community-based fundraising activities, the Foundation has raised more than $350 million since its founding and is the largest non-governmental source of research funds for retinal degenerative diseases.[3]


Diseases Studied

Foundation-funded scientists at institutions throughout the world conduct research for the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases including: retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, Stargardt disease, Best disease, choroideremia, retinoschisis, Leber congenital amaurosis, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, cone dystrophy, cone-rod dystrophy, rod-cone dystrophy, achromatopsia, Refsum disease, and other rare retinal degenerative diseases. The Foundation funds research in a number of scientific areas including: genetics, gene therapy, nutrition, stem cells, and pharmaceutical therapies.[4]

Clinical Trials

After decades of Foundation-funded research, several promising treatments have recently moved into human clinical trials, including a landmark gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis, which has enabled a few young adults who were virtually blind to read several lines on an eye chart and see in dimly lit settings.[5] This success paves the way for the development of gene therapies to treat a wide range of other retinal conditions.

The Foundation is also funding clinical trials of a tiny innovative capsule that is inserted into the eye to slow vision loss from a variety of retinal degenerative diseases.[6]

National Neurovision Research Institute

In 2004, the Foundation established the National Neurovision Research Institute (NNRI) to accelerate the translation of laboratory-based research into clinical trials for treatments and cures of retinal degenerative diseases.[4] NNRI is a medical research institute that promotes cooperation and collaborations between academic researchers, government agencies, corporations and private foundations. NNRI is also negotiating royalties and licensing fees from drug discovery and commercialization of new therapies.

Fundraising and Activities

The Foundation has more than 50 volunteer-led groups and chapters across the U.S. These volunteers raise funds, increase public awareness, and provide support to their communities.[4]

In addition to grants and corporate gifts, the Foundation hosts a series of events across the country, including VisionWalk, Dining in the Dark, and a series of galas and dinners including the For the Love of Sight Dinner held in Washington, D.C., the Visionary Award Dinner in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Humanitarian Award Dinner in New York City.


VisionWalk is the national signature fundraising event of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Since its inception in the Spring of 2006, the program has raised over $7 million to fund sight-saving research. As promising treatments move into critical human studies, the need for research funding is greater than ever before.

Race to Cure Blindness

Race to Cure Blindness is a fundraising program where participants utilize a marathon, triathlon, bike race, or other racing event as a platform to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

If you would like to use your racing effort to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Race to Cure Blindness is an excellent way to make your participation more meaningful and to motivate you when the going gets tough.

Your participation will help raise vital funds that will support the Foundation's urgent mission to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments, and cures for the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.

This program unites people participating in races throughout the country with a very worthy cause furthering the mission of the Foundation Fighting Blindness!


The Foundation currently funds 151 grants at 80 prominent research institutions and eye hospitals in the U.S. and around the world.

See also


  1. ^ [1] The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, accessed July 16, 2008
  2. ^ [2] Forbes, accessed July 16, 2008
  3. ^ Gene Therapy Provides Vision to People who Were Nearly Blind Reuters, accessed July 16, 2008
  4. ^ a b c [3] Retina International, accessed July 16, 2008
  5. ^ "Gene Therapy Improves Vision in Patients with Congenital Retinal Disease.", American Foundation for the Blind, accessed July 16, 2008
  6. ^ "Long-term Retinal Implant Study Offers Hope For Treating Blindness.", Science Daily, accessed July 16, 2008

Official Websites

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