Our 10th World Symposium

La Jolla, California November 1-3 2018

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Our Vision is Clear!

The 10th World Symposium on Genetic Vision Disorders will bring together the world’s top genetic vision researchers to share and collaborate on their ongoing unpublished work. This Symposium marks the tenth time this group has gathered, due to the sponsorship of The Vision of Children Foundation (VOC).  Over the past two decades, the Foundation's mission has been to find cures for hereditary childhood blindness and vision disorders. It has played a leading role in encouraging scientific exploration of genetically caused vision disorders

The Symposiums were launched in 2000 with a special invitation to researchers who had been working to further the field of knowledge regarding genetic vision disorders. The goal was to share new discoveries in order to expedite treatments for children born with vision disorders. The steadfast requirement for participating in the Symposium was that researchers be willing to present their “unfinished” work to the other scientists.  Typically, researchers work independently and share their findings after publishing peer-reviewed, validated research results. 

The last Symposium took place in 2016 when the Vision of Children Foundation hosted international researchers from the U.S., Japan, Spain, Italy and the National Eye Institute in Washington.  After the Symposium, Dr. Robert M. Grainger, W.L. Lyons Brown Professor, Department of Biology, Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Virginia commented, “I want to send along my sincerest thanks for a really wonderful meeting.  Organizing the meeting around the science, and having interested families attend, is a very effective way to let the science percolate as you clearly recognize. I learned a tremendous amount during this short meeting and made scientific connections that I know will be productive for all in the future.”

Since the inception of the symposiums, there has been a remarkable improvement in the culture regarding the willingness of researchers to share and collaborate to accelerate the pace of vision research.  Inviting families with children who have genetic vision disorders has given the researchers and these families an opportunity to interact in a collaborative environment.  The 10th World Symposium will be held in La Jolla, California on November 1-3rd, 2018.  Twenty scientists have already confirmed their attendance.

The world of vision science is on the brink of many discoveries that are already leading to treatments for a variety of vision disorders. Such treatments rely on the combined knowledge of VOC-funded scientists and many others around the world. Gene therapy and stem cell therapies, which seemed but a distant dream when the Foundation started, are now becoming reality. The 10th World Symposium holds the hope of unlocking discoveries through the collaboration and collegial sharing of knowledge that may truly lead to new treatments and cures in the near future. The Vision of Children Foundation is proud to have played an important role in moving vision science forward so that one day soon children who are born with debilitating vision disorders or blindness will be able to see clearly.