In 1989, doctors predicted a dim future for Sam and Vivian Hardage’s son, who was born with ocular albinism type 1 (OA1), a rare, but debilitating, genetic eye disease. Ophthalmologists told them that there was “no treatment,” “no cure” and “no hope.” Very little was known about the disorder because few scientists were researching hereditary vision disorders.
So, in 1991, the San Diego couple established the Vision of Children Foundation (VOC) to encourage research and support projects focused on treating and eradicating genetic vision disorders.
Since that time we've been a pioneering force in vision research, setting the stage for what we now know to be a solution to genetic vision disorders. From early, basic science research, the Foundation has evolved into an organization that has driven science to the horizon of actually restoring vision to children who cannot see. Recent studies indicate that combining the power of gene therapy and stem cell therapy can create new pathways for exciting and unusual approaches for the prevention and treatment of blindness in a variety of ophthalmic disorders.
Other goals of the Foundation are to support family members and children with hereditary blindness and fostering communication between researchers all over the world. We have a family network that helps patients and families, provides support and visual aids, and helps find doctors all over the world. We also bring researchers together for regular symposiums, which allow them to share and discuss their findings in a unique, collegial environment that fosters new ideas.
We Need Your Support
Why should you choose to support The Vision of Children Foundation? Because, historically, genetic eye disorders have been under-funded and under-researched. Most research funds and the health community focus on decreasing the incidence of blindness caused by malnutrition, diseases and premature birth. However, inherited eye diseases (in which faulty genetic material is passed by the mother or father to the newborn) cause more than 60 percent of cases of blindness among infants, according to the Cleveland Clinic. There are hundreds of genetic vision disorders and incidence rates vary widely.
Knowledge about genetic eye diseases has increased dramatically over the past two decades. What seemed like science-fiction a short time ago is actually happening today. Scientists are making remarkable progress. We must increase our research efforts to build upon these discoveries.
To raise critical funding for this research, we rely on support from individuals, corporations and community partners. Your support could actually help restore vision in people who have been blind or visually impaired since birth.