For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Steve Rose, and I’d like to welcome you to Eye on the Cure, the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ first, and official, blog!
For the past seven years, I’ve been lucky enough to serve as chief research officer of the Foundation. Now, I had some pretty good gigs previously, including a 14-year stint at the National Institutes of Health, where I supervised many research initiatives. But I say “lucky,” in this instance, because the Foundation – or FFB, as it’s known to many – is truly a unique organization.
The nonprofit is singularly focused on finding preventions, treatments and cures for a group of diseases affecting the retina – the light-sensing area in the back of the eye — that cause vision loss and, sometimes, blindness in more than 30 million people around the world.
Forty-one years ago, when FFB was founded, next to nothing was known about retinal diseases. Not one disease-causing gene had been identified, and there were few specialists and no research centers focused on treatments. But FFB never hesitated. And, to date, it’s raised more than $450 million for research and supports scores of researchers worldwide, many of whom are engaged in clinical trials for treatments and cures.
And do you know how many retinal-disease-causing genes have been identified, most of them by researchers supported by FFB? More than 200!
Here, in the office, I’m known for my “Steve-isms” – which, really, are just old sayings I apply to the work we’re doing at the Foundation. One rhetorical question I often ask is, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Translation: “Is this project worth the time, effort and funding we’ll need to put into it?”
Well, FFB, for reasons I’ve stated above, is in the unique position of being the authority on retinal research. And as its representative, I’m plugged into a wide-ranging network of specialists, from eye doctors to researchers, who know exactly where the developments of treatments stand, and where they’re going.
Which brings me to this blog. We’re trying to reach the millions of people around the world who are either directly or indirectly affected by vision-robbing diseases. This blog is “worth the squeeze” because it gives me, and therefore the Foundation, the opportunity to share not only our expertise, but the expertise of those in the field we consider invaluable.
So, beginning this week, I’ll share with you posts covering every aspect of retinal research in a variety of formats (from lists to Q&As to videos), and in language that’s easy to understand. And I welcome your comments and questions to ensure that what I’m covering is understandable, relevant and valuable.
To kick things off, you’ll be seeing a post every day this week, so as to get a taste of what Eye on the Cure has to offer. Starting next week, you’ll see one to two posts a week, some of which will be updates from the road.
So, until then, please bookmark Eye on the Cure and drop in as often as possible. I look forward to sharing information with you and hearing what you have to say. You can also submit any questions you might want answered. In fact, you can expect that I’ll be answering reader questions in occasional video posts in the future.