The 2016 World Symposium on Vision Disorders will bring together an elite group of the world’s top vision researchers to share and collaborate on their ongoing work before it is published. This Symposium marks the ninth time that such a group has gathered, thanks to The Vision of Children Foundation (VOC), which was founded in 1991. 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 in this arena.

The Symposiums were launched in 2000 with a special invitation to nine researchers who had been working independently to further the field of knowledge regarding genetic vision disorders. The goal was to bring this select group of scientists together to collaborate and share their discoveries in order to expedite the speed with which their research could be translated into treatments for children who are born with such vision disorders. The steadfast requirement for participating in the Symposium was that all researchers be willing to present their “unfinished” work to the other scientists. At the time, this was a novel concept. Typically, researchers work independently and only share their findings after publishing their peer-reviewed, highly scrutinized and ultimately validated research results. 

The last Symposium took place in 2013 and was described as "representing the greatest brain trust in the field of vision research ever assembled for the genetic vision disorders our scientists are targeting," according to world renowned Ophthalmologist and Professor of Medicine, Molecular and Human Genetics, and Ophthalmology, Dr. Richard Lewis of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. Since these Symposiums started, 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.

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we find ourselves and the world of vision science 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 was founded, are now becoming reality. The 2016 World Symposium holds the hope of unlocking more 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.

The 9th World Symposium will be take place in San Diego from November 16-18, 2016. In addition to vision researchers and National Eye Institute representatives, vision care providers and families with visually impaired children will be invited to attend.

We depend on sponsors to produce a world class symposium. Please click here for sponsorship opportunities

For more information about attending the symposium or to register, contact Nancy at Nancy@VisionofChildren.org or 858-314-7916