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VisionNation Fact Sheet

  • More than 10 million Americans of every age and race are affected by vision-robbing retinal degenerative diseases.
  • 1 out of 15 people will suffer from vision lose over the course of their lifetime.
  • Every 7 minutes someone becomes blind in the U.S.
  • More than 38 million Americans age 40 and older are blind, visually impaired, or have an age-related eye disease.
  • Eye disease and vision loss costs $68 billion each year in the U.S.
  • 200,000 Americans develop age-related macular degeneration each year

Foundation Fighting Blindness 

  • The Foundation Fighting Blindness’ urgent mission is to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.
  • The Foundation Fighting Blindness was founded in 1971 and has raised more than $400 million in support of its mission. The Foundation is the largest non-governmental source of research funding for retinal degenerative disease in the world.
  • The Foundation recently realized its greatest breakthrough when children and young adults who were virtually blind from a severe retinal  disease had vision restored thanks to landmark gene therapy clinical trials made possible by Foundation funding.
  • The Foundation Fighting Blindness is currently funding 138 grants at 76 prominent research institutions.  FFB funds pioneering research in a comprehensive program that includes: cell biology, drug delivery, clinical & pre-clinical studies, genetics, gene therapy, retinal cell transplantation, and pharmaceutical and nutritional therapies.
  • In addition to its support of research to find treatments and cures, the Foundation Fighting Blindness provides information and outreach programs for people affected and their families, as well as research and clinical professionals.
  • The Fighting Blindness Foundation has 50 volunteer-led groups across the U.S. These dedicated volunteers raise funds, increase public awareness, and provide support to their communities.

Facts about the Retina

The retina is a thin, delicate layer of tissue lining the back of the eye. It functions like film in a camera. The retina enables us to see by converting light into electrical signals which the brain interprets as images. The light-sensing cells in the retina are known as photoreceptors (rods and cones). Rods provide peripheral vision and vision in dark settings. Cones provide central and daytime vision. 

Facts about Eye Diseases

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal degenerative disease that causes a progressive loss of central vision. AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over 55. An estimated 10 million people in the U.S. have AMD.

You can learn more about AMD.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited diseases causing retinal degeneration. People with RP usually experience a gradual decline in their vision, The disease starts off causing night blindness and loss of peripheral vision, eventually robbing people of their central and daytime vision.  Forms of RP and related diseases include Usher syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, rod-cone disease, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, and Refsum disease, among others.

You can learn more about RP.

Stargardt Disease

Stargardt disease is the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration. The progressive vision loss associated with Stargardt disease is caused by the death of photoreceptor cells (cones) in the central portion of the retina called the macula.

Decreased central vision is a hallmark of Stargardt disease. Side vision is usually preserved. Stargardt disease typically develops during childhood and adolescence.

You can learn more about Stargardt disease.

Usher Syndrome

Usher syndrome is an inherited condition characterized by hearing impairment and progressive vision loss. The vision loss is due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative condition of the retina, and usually appears during adolescence or early adulthood. Balance may also be affected. There are three primary types of Usher syndrome.  Symptoms and severity of disease vary based on the type of Usher syndrome.

You can learn more about Usher Syndrome.

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