Recently@Retina Newsletter March 2024

March 24, 2024

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March 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.


A Message from Dr. Karl Csaky



November 2023 Recently At Retina Newsletter Img 01I am excited to share that our debut Eye on Innovation, The Series Brunch in Northwest Arkansas was a great success. Scientists shared hope backed by science for those battling rare retinal degeneration diseases with no cure. Funds raised as part of the event went to support the Retina Foundation Scientist Fund for Dr. Mark Pennesi, Director of Ophthalmic Genetics at the Retina Foundation. I am especially grateful to our new family of Arkansas supporters whose contributions further enable the Foundation to conduct groundbreaking research while never charging patients for care. Together we are leading research and saving sight.March 2024 Recentlyretina Newsletter (1) Img 01


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World-Class Retina Experts Present Latest Research, Clinical Trials and Treatments for Inherited Retinal Diseases in Northwest Arkansas

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Left to Right: Randall Harriman, Mike Stevens, Mark Pennesi, David Birch, Jenny Schisler, and Tia Tomlin.


T h e Retina Foundation of the Southwest brought its signature Eye on Innovation, The Series event to Compton Gardens and Arboretum in Northwest Arkansas. Featured was a panel discussion with our world-renowned experts in inherited retinal diseases, David Birch, PhD, Director of the Rose-Silverthorne Retinal Degenerations Laboratory and Mark Pennesi, MD, PhD, Director of Ophthalmic Genetics at the Retina Foundation and Kenneth C. Swan Endowed Professor in Ophthalmology and Chief of the Paul H. Casey Ophthalmic Genetics Division at the Casey Eye Institute. Moderated by Tia Tomlin, past President of the Retina Foundation Board of Directors and retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patient, local guests, many battling rare and incurable eye disease, heard about the latest advancements and clinical trials currently underway or on the horizon. We are grateful to Mike Stevens, Franchisee at H&R Block Springdale, Director of Automation at Quadrivium, Inc., RP patient, Randall Harriman, Senior Vice President of Development, Signature Bank of Arkansas, and Jenny Schisler, Retina Foundation patient from Rogers, Arkansas diagnosed with RP who hosted the event which raised more than $15,000. Funds from the event will support the Retina Foundation Scientist Fund.

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Tom Luce






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Just over one month away from the Retina Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, we are delighted to highlight Tom Luce, our Honorary Chair for the 2024 Visionary Luncheon. Tom’s life has been one of family, professional accomplishments, public service, and social entrepreneurship. The Dallas native never tires in his efforts to make Texas a better place.

He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Methodist University where he has been honored as a Distinguished Alumni. Tom went on to become the founding and managing partner of the Hughes and Luce law firm. He was lead attorney on multibillion-dollar mergers and litigation and was selected at various points in his career as one of the best attorneys at local, state, and national levels.

His public service in Texas was distinguished by gubernatorial and legislative appointments to major state positions including Chief Justice of the Supreme Court pro tempore, Sunset Commission, Cancer Prevention and Research Insttute, Texas Commission on Judiciary, Chief of Staff of the Select Commitiee on Public Education, and the Superconducting Super Collider.

On the national level, he was appointed as Assistant Secretary of Education by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the United States Senate, and appointed to The Library of Congress Board by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tom went on to found Texas 2036, an organization dedicated to addressing the impact of the state’s growth by an estimated 10 million people when it turns 200 years old. In addition to Texas 2036, Tom has founded and lead numerous other nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the needs of others. These include the Texas Business and Education Coalition, Just for the Kids, Data Quality Campaign, the National Center for Educational Accountability, the National Math and Science Initiative, and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.

His latest venture is serving as CEO of Biotech Initiatives of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, focused on developing the entire life science ecosystem across the state of Texas. He has authored two books on improving public education and has taught at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Texas at Dallas. Tom has been married to his wife, Pam, for more than 60 years. They have three children and seven grandsons.

We invite you to join us on May 15, 2024, as we honor the impact Tom Luce has made on research and life sciences in Texas during our annual Visionary Luncheon.



We look forward to seeing you there!



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Monday, April 8, 2004 parts of North America, including Dallas, will experience a total solar eclipse. Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause blindness by retinal burns also known as “solar retinopathy.” This damage, caused by extreme exposure to light, can permanently damage and destroy cells in the retina, and it occurs with no pain. It can even take a few hours to days after viewing a solar eclipse to realize the damage has occurred. Symptoms include loss of central vision and distorted vision.

DO NOT USE your smartphone, camera viewfinder, or binoculars even when wearing solar eclipse glasses. The concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter. Solar eclipse glasses placed over the lenses of these items will not protect your eyes and your smartphone or digital camera can be damaged.

Only during the brief total phase, when the moon completely blocks the sun, is looking directly at the eclipse safe. As soon as you see even a little bit of the bright Sun reappear after totality, immediately put your eclipse glasses back on or use a handheld solar viewer to look at the Sun. More information about the eclipse and eclipse eye safety can be found on NASA’s website: 2024 Total Eclipse: Where & When and the American Academy of Ophthalmology website: Solar Eclipse Eye Safety.

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Solar Eclipse Glasses:

  • Ensure ISO 12312-2 standard
  • Wear at all times during eclipse
  • If scratched, not safe to use
  • Sunglasses are NOT safe to use
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Pinhole Projection:

  • IY Safest way to watch an eclipse
  • View projected image
  • Easy DIY project
  • Click here for directions

Planned Giving

When Dr. William Snyder cofounded the Retina Foundation, he had no idea that the work would personally impact his family. Over the years, his wife, Phyllis suffered from progressively worsening vision loss as a result of Retinitis Pigmentosa. Phyllis turned to the researchers at the Retina Foundation for answers and to be part of the innovative research.

Through their professional and personal lives, the Snyders saw the impact of the sight-saving research. Together, they created the Phyllis G. and William B. Snyder Legacy Society because they wanted to invest in the future of the Foundation.

By becoming a member of The Founder’s Society, you can ensure their legacy continues to flourish. Funds generated through planned gifts are devoted to current funding needs as well as capital projects and endowments. The Founder’s Society recognizes donors who include the Retina Foundation in their estate plans. The simplest and most commonly planned gift is a bequest designation in your will or trust. Assets you may consider as part of your planned gift to the Retina Foundation include securities, business interests, cash, life insurance, personal property, real estate, and retirement plans.

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Amy is here to help and welcomes you to contact her for more information. She looks forward to assisting you in creating your legacy at the Retina Foundation.

Amy Johnson

Chief Development

Officer 214-363-3911 ext. 109


If you include the Retina Foundation in your estate plans, please use our legal name and federal tax ID number below.

Legal Name: Retina Foundation of the Southwest

Federal TaxID Number: 51-0151514

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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 the development of 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 March 2024

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