As the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting is ramping up in San Francisco, an event aimed at bringing together industry and physicians to raise money and awareness for inherited eye diseases is planned for all attendees.
The Fight Blindness concert event, featuring DJMJ, also known as Mitchell A. Jackson, MD, and DJ Eye-Q, also known as Quentin B. Allen, MD, will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Warfield Theater.
It will benefit the Foundation Fighting Blindness, as well as raise awareness for the organization’s work.
“This is the premier fun night at the Academy,” Jason Menzo, chief operating officer of Foundation Fighting Blindness, told Healio/OSN. “The Academy itself has so much great science presented, but this event is a little bit of a break from that. The goal is to have a good time connecting with peers and colleagues while supporting a great cause.”
The Foundation Fighting Blindness drives research to prevent and treat degenerative retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, Usher syndrome, Stargardt disease and Leber congenital amaurosis.
Meeting two individuals who work with Foundation Fighting Blindness, Bradford and Bryan Manning, inspired Jackson to get involved. The brothers have inherited Stargardt disease and run Two Blind Brothers, a clothing company that also raises money to fund blindness research.
“I got inspired to do a show on behalf of them and the organization they represent,” Jackson said. “We’re at American Academy of Ophthalmology, a consortium of all subspecialties. We all fight blindness every day. This is the perfect time to come support an organization that is designed to fight blindness. There’s no better time and place to show our solidarity.”
According to Menzo, there is currently an awareness gap between ophthalmologists and the resources offered by the foundation, and he would like to bridge that gap to better help patients.
When the Manning brothers were originally diagnosed, they were told there was little hope, he said.
“Their parents rejected the idea that nothing could be done and really empowered them to live their lives to the fullest, which they have. We’ve partnered with 2BB for many years, and together we are helping to change the experience for patients who are newly diagnosed,” Menzo said. “It’s not, ‘You’re without hope, go learn Braille and stay home.’ There are a lot of resources and research being done right now, so there’s reason for hope.”
The foundation funds research including clinical trials along with genetic testing and additional valuable resources, and would like to spread that word to physicians, who in turn can spread it to those patients.
To attend the event, please bring your AAO badge and arrive early to guarantee entrance. – by Rebecca L. Forand
Disclosure: Menzo reports he is chief operating officer of Foundation Fighting Blindness.