Recently@Retina Newsletter June 2024

June 26, 2024

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June 2024

The mission of the Retina Foundation of the Southwest is to prevent vision loss and restore sight through innovative research and treatment for pediatric eye conditions, inherited eye diseases, and age-related macular degeneration.


June 2024 Recentlyretina Newsletter Img 01A Message


Dr. Karl Csaky




What an incredible turnout for our 2024 Visionary Luncheon! We celebrated hope backed by science as we shared how the Retina Foundation is delivering on its mission to prevent vision loss and restore sight through innovative research and treatment. I am grateful for the support from our event co-chairs, Jennifer and Bill Voss, and everyone who contributed, more than $1 million has been pledged for the Visionary Luncheon this year – not only exceeding our goal but breaking the record for most funds raised by this event. The inspiring stories from our patients and the collaborative efforts with leaders like Tom Luce and Justin Coppedge, Texas 2036 highlight our ongoing commitment to advancing healthcare solutions.

Our researchers presented their groundbreaking work at the annual AAPOS and ARVO conferences. These prestigious platforms allowed us to showcase our latest advancements in vision science and share our findings with the global medical community. The presentations highlighted the innovative therapies and treatments we are developing to combat vision-threatening retinal diseases, reinforcing the Retina Foundation’s role as a leader in ophthalmic research.

I am grateful to our many supporters who join us in significantly impacting patients’ lives today and in the future through vision research and treatments.

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Karl Csaky, Lyda Hill, Diane Boddy, Jeanne Klein, and Laurie Dotter

2024 Visionary Luncheon a

Record-Breaking Success

Thanks to everyone who helped make the 2024 Visionary Luncheon an extraordinary success. Because of your generosity, the Retina Foundation continues to be the medical destination for groundbreaking research, accelerating solutions for retinal degeneration disease and disorders.

At the luncheon, Karl Csaky, MD, PhD Chief Executive and Medical Officer at the Retina Foundation, shared the latest advancements in research and clinical trials. Lyda Hill presented the Hunt Family Visionary Award to the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas. Wayne White, President and CEO of CFT, accepted the award. Justin Coppedge, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations at Texas 2036 graciously stepped in to speak in the absence of Tom Luce, Honorary Chair of the Visionary Luncheon. Justin shared the impact the Retina Foundation is making through collaborations with organizations like Texas 2036, Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and others.

Incoming Board of Directors chair Laurie Dotter thanked Jennifer and Bill Voss, Visionary Luncheon Chairs for the outstanding job spearheading this year’s luncheon – exceeding the $1 million goal.

The work done at the Retina Foundation is all about our patients, and it was the patient stories that had the biggest impact. Jeanne Klein and Diane Boddy shared their story of participating in a first-of-its-kind sibling study for #AMD at the Retina Foundation. Jenny Schisler shared how the Retina Foundation provides hope, for not only her but also for her daughters who have a 50% chance of inheriting retinitis pigmentosa.

Closing out the luncheon was a musical tribute from Robert Mahurin singing What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.

Special thanks to our Volunteer Leadership Committee, sponsors, and host committee who help provide the Retina Foundation such a successful event.

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Bobby Lyle and Lottye Brodsky-Lyle at the 2024 Visionary Luncheon Patron Party.

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Bill and Jennifer Voss, Danielle Billbio-Deen and Mark Pennesi

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Karl Csaky, Lyda Hill and Wayne White

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Justin Coppedge, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations for Texas 2036

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Foundation Grant Support

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The Delta Gamma Foundation Board of Trustees, upon recommendation from the Service for Sight Grants Committee, awarded their largest grant to the Retina Foundation to date. Funding will support the Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Vision Laboratory to utilize machine-learning in developing a questionnaire to improve the availability and accuracy of early vision screening. Improved detection of amblyopia will reduce childhood vision loss.

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Following an enjoyable and enlightening visit with Dr. Karl Csaky, Amon G. Carter Foundation Executive Vice President, John Robinson, announced the Carter Foundation Board approved the granting of funds to assist with the purchase of specialized equipment necessary to measure the effectiveness of our now patented ocular implant device which delivers therapeutics directly to the eye in a controlled, non-invasive fashion to treat AMD.

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The Still Water Foundation Board approved a grant to support a first-of-itskind sibling study to uncover impactful solutions to Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD is a progressive eye disease that causes people to lose their ability to read, drive a car and make out the faces of loved ones. From blood draws, Dr. Sri Sripathi, Director of the Henderson Ocular Stem Cell Laboratory, will analyze why only one in a pair of siblings has AMD even though both have the genetic factor for the disease.

Multi-Generational Support

High school student Debbie Klein, granddaughter of Retina Foundation cofounder Albert Vaiser, recently interned at the Retina Foundation. Working alongside the development team, she set in motion a campaign to further expand awareness of the Retina Foundation across Texas and neighboring states.

“My father told me it was my turn to get involved in supporting the Retina Foundation,” Debbie said. Her work will increase accessibility to the Retina Foundation’s translational research and sight saving treatment studies for more individuals.

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Marc, Angela, and Debbie Klein and Marcia Klein

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Debbie Klein, with Dr. Mark E. Pennesi, who also held an internship at the Retina Foundation as a high school student.

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Dr. Albert Vaiser, Dr. William Snyder and Marc Klein

When we say every dollar matters, this is what we mean!


Special thanks to Eden Schisler, daughter of Retina Foundation patient, Jenny Schisler, and the student council at Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Arkansas for choosing to support the Retina Foundation for their end-of-year fundraiser. Students donated $2 to wear sunglasses or a hat to school and raised $1,600 for the Retina Foundation. Donna and Lou Grabowsky, our board chair, matched the fundraiser with a $1,000 donation. Retina Foundation staff also participated and got to wear sunglasses to the office. Even Dr. David Birch’s dog joined in the fun!

Because we never charge patients for the care we provide, more patients will receive genetic testing and counseling as our team assesses their best options for treatment and clinical trials. Every donation makes a difference, and every person can make a difference. Thank you to Eden and the students at Shiloh Christian School for making a difference for the Retina Foundation!

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Our Researchers Present at Annual Scientific Conferences

The annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) was held in Austin, TX this year, giving conference attendees a perfect view of the solar eclipse’s totality. Researchers, Brooke Koritala presented research on physical activity in children with amblyopia (lazy eye), Reed Jost presented the everyday consequences of intermittent exotropia (eyes that turn out) and Dr. Eileen E. Birch presented what causes slow reading in amblyopic children.

T h e Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology‘s annual meeting and 2024 ARVO Imaging in the Eye was held in Seattle, WA. Dr. YiZhong Wang presented at both conferences on different aspects of his machine learning-assisted analysis of the commonly used OCT ophthalmic imaging device. Dr. Neha Tandon presented the role of photopic focal microperimetry testing in AMD patients with geographic atrophy. Other presenters from the Retina Foundation included Dr. Karl G. Csaky, Dr. David G. Birch and Dr. Eileen E. Birch.

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Thanks to support from individuals like you, the Retina Foundation is a world leader in research for pediatric eye conditions, inherited retinal diseases, and age-related macular degeneration. The Retina Foundation’s research remains as critical as ever. We continue to work on developing potential treatments for patients with various eye diseases through laboratory science and clinical trials.


Please help the Retina Foundation continue leading research and saving sight.



Recently@Retina Newsletter June 2024

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