The Glaucoma Foundation Receives $1.5 Million Gift

Sep 25, 2013, 07:45 ET from The Glaucoma Foundation

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Glaucoma Foundation (TGF) has announced a $1.5 million gift commitment from The Gerald and Daphna Cramer Family Foundation. This unrestricted gift, the largest single gift in the history of TGF, will be used to promote and sustain The Foundation's mission to find new approaches to the understanding and elimination of glaucoma through collaborative research.

Exfoliation syndrome (XFS) is the most common identifiable cause of open-angle glaucoma in the world, affecting approximately 80 million people, and accounts for the majority of glaucoma in some countries. It is a genetically determined age-related disease of elastic tissue within the eye, with a dandruff-like appearance.

About one-third of people with XFS develop elevated intraocular pressure and up to half of these develop glaucoma. With XFS, chances of developing glaucoma are about six times higher than without XFS, and the severity and prognosis of exfoliation glaucoma is worse than that of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), the routine form of open-angle glaucoma. Nevertheless, this disease remains largely undiagnosed and is often confused with POAG, although the causes of glaucoma are very different between the two, and little attention was paid to it until the beginning of the 21st century.

The recent identification of the gene defect associated with this disorder has helped accelerate research towards reversing and curing this condition and eliminating needless vision loss. In 2012, The Glaucoma Foundation sharpened its focus on finding a cure for XFS. Much attention is now being paid to XFS because of the impetus of The Glaucoma Foundation and its annual Think Tank, which is now focused on the reversal and elimination of XFS and its associated glaucoma.

In addition to potential blindness from glaucoma, exfoliation syndrome is a leading cause of complications during cataract surgery. Over 20 million Americans age 40 and over are affected by cataracts and 3 million have cataract surgery every year. An increasing list of associations with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases makes XFS a condition of general medical importance.  Recently ascribed associations include stroke, cardiovascular dysfunction, Alzheimer's disease and hearing loss.

Announcement of the gift was made at The Glaucoma Foundation's 20th Annual International Think Tank, recently concluded in New York City, at which some 50 scientists from 11 countries explored Exfoliation Syndrome:  What We Know and Where We Need to Go.                              

Said Gregory K. Harmon, MD, Chairman of The Glaucoma Foundation, "The Cramer's leadership commitment enables The Foundation to broaden its research initiatives in a concentrated effort to seek a cure for glaucoma caused by exfoliation syndrome. We are deeply appreciative of their generosity, which will also serve as a guiding example to encourage others to help us find a cure."  

Information about TGF's research grant program can be found on its website

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SOURCE The Glaucoma Foundation