Foundation Fighting Blindness To Honor Second Sight and ForSight Labs Leaders at 6th Annual San Francisco Dining in the Dark

April 25 Event Offers First-Hand Glimpse into the Lives of the Blind to Benefit Research

San Francisco, Ca. (March 25, 2013) — The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit focused on vision-saving research for retinal diseases, will honor Robert Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Second Sight Medical Products; and K. Angela Macfarlane, President and CEO of ForSight Labs, with the organization’s Visionary Award at the 6th Annual San Francisco Dining in the Dark. The unique fundraiser, taking place Thursday, April 25, at the Palace Hotel, will give diners a first-hand glimpse into the lives of the blind by challenging guests to eat their entrée in complete blackness. Proceeds will benefit sight-saving research into preventions, treatments and cures for retinal diseases, including macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, which affect more than 10 million Americans.

The unforgettable Dining in the Dark awareness experience will last approximately 30 minutes, while visually impaired servers, trained especially for the event, share their stories and use a system of ropes and stanchions to help guests navigate through this new culinary journey of heightened smell, sound, taste and touch. Created in Germany, Dining in the Dark is a one-of-a kind concept that has been enjoyed by many people across Europe before moving to America in 2005.

“Our goal is to bring together the area’s thriving community of ophthalmic innovators to generate critical funds for the Foundation Fighting Blindness to invest in promising studies that stand to save and even restore sight. Both deserving Visionary Award honorees have dedicated their careers to shepherding companies and devices forward to help those facing blindness.” says Dinner Chair Eugene de Juan, Jr., M.D., a renowned retinal surgeon, inventor and entrepreneur who has founded several ophthalmic companies, including Second Sight and ForSight Labs. He’s also the Jean Kelly Stock Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCSF. “Reactions to Dining in the Dark are so powerful because people often take their vision for granted, and the challenge of blindly navigating a meal helps put sight loss into perspective.”

Receiving the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Visionary Award is Dr. Robert Greenberg, President and CEO of Second Sight since its inception in 1998, who led the Argus II retinal prosthesis through development, clinical trials and FDA approval just this past February. This “bionic retina” is the first device of its kind available to patients, and has provided people profoundly blind from advanced retinitis pigmentosa (RP) with the ability to see shapes and improved mobility. In addition to his innovative work in vision research, particularly in the area of retinal electrical stimulation, Dr. Greenberg, of Los Feliz, Ca., also chairs the boards of directors for three California-based non-profit organizations. In attendance to share his story will be Argus II recipient Dean Lloyd, an attorney completely blind from RP, who thanks to the device is now able to sort white, grey and black socks, among other tasks.

Also being honored with the Visionary Award is K. Angela Macfarlane, President and CEO of ForSight Labs, who has incredible passion and proven success nurturing and leading start-up biotech companies, including those focused on improving the lives of the visually impaired. By bringing together entrepreneurs and investors, ForSight Labs drives innovative technologies through concept, development and ultimately commercialization through its high-impact eye care companies. Macfarlane, of Burlingame, Ca., is also an inventor on three U.S. issued patents with others pending.   

Individual tickets for Dining in the Dark are $500 and sponsorships begin at $5,000. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Cheyanne Sauter at CSauter@FightBlindness.org or (310) 450-2910, or visit www.FightBlindness.org/DiningInTheDark and click on San Francisco. To request media credentials to Dine in the Dark, or to coordinate an interview with an event spokesperson, contact Allie Gebhardt at 410-423-0643 or AGebhardt@FightBlindness.org.

What:

San Francisco Dining in the Dark, benefitting the Foundation Fighting Blindness

Where:

The Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

When:

Thursday, April 25, 2013
6-7 p.m. Reception
7-9 p.m. Award Program & Dining in the Dark

About Foundation Fighting Blindness

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national non-profit organization driving the research that will lead to preventions, treatments and cures for retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases that affect more than 10 million Americans. Since 1971, the Foundation has raised more than $500 million as the leading non-governmental funder of retinal research. Breakthrough Foundation-funded studies using gene therapy have restored significant vision in children and young adults who were previously blind, paving the way for additional clinical trials to treat a variety of retinal degenerative diseases. With a coveted four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the Foundation also has nearly 50 chapters that provide support, information and resources to affected individuals and their families in communities across the country.

Original Date: 
Monday, March 25, 2013