Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September is Declared Ocular Inflammatory Disease Month in Massachusetts

We are very privileged to be treated by Dr. Foster

We will be seeing him tomorrow morning!



Currently there are over 280,000 diagnosed cases of Ocular Inflammatory Disease in the United States. However, many people remain unaware of the serious nature and indications of this complex illness and avoid seeking treatment. It is my hope that by declaring September as Ocular Inflammatory Disease Awareness month the rate of unnecessary blindness will be mitigated and early intervention enhanced. – Jennifer Callahan, State Representative

Boston, MA- Governor Deval Patrick has proclaimed September 2008 as OCULAR INFLAMMATORY DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Destructive inflammatory diseases of the eye such as uveitis are the third leading cause of preventable blindness in developed Countries. Untreated or under-treated uveitis, or repeated episodes of inflammation within the eye, can lead to scarring and blinding consequences. Symptoms of uveitis include redness and irritation of the eye, blurred vision, eye pain, light sensitivity and floating spots. State Representative Jennifer Callahan, D-Sutton, will present a Resolution from the Massachusetts House of Representatives in recognition of the awareness month to C. Stephen Foster, MD, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, world renowned ocular immunologist and president and founder of the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation(OIUF) during a ribbon cutting ceremony during the Foundation’s annual “Walk for Vision” on September 27th at noon in front of the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation’s groundbreaking research efforts in ocular inflammatory disease and ocular immunology. The 5K walk along the Charles River in Cambridge will conclude with a lunch at the Royal Sonesta and a meeting of the OIUF support group featuring Dr. Foster as the keynote speaker, who has taken a leadership role in informing the public about ocular inflammatory disease. He states, “Ocular immunology is not a particularly glamorous field, and few ophthalmologists choose to enter it. As a result, few ocular immunologists exist, and so many patients with uveitis and other forms of eye inflammation continue to be treated with 1950’s standard of care while much more effective and safer strategies exist today. The result is that far more people are eventually blinded by eye inflammation than should occur.”
The mission of OIUF is to find cures for ocular inflammatory diseases, to erase the worldwide deficit of properly trained ocular immunologists, and to provide education and emotional support for those patients afflicted with ocular inflammatory disease. Other upcoming events hosted by OIUF include two physician education conferences in October. The “International Symposium on Birdshot Choroidopathy” an autoimmune disorder, will take place on October 4th. The Third Annual Physician Education Conference: “New Paradigms in the Treatment of Anterior Segment Disease” will take place on October 25th. Both conferences have been approved for Continued Medical Education requirements for physicians.

More about C. Stephen Foster, MD and The Ocular Immunolgy and Uveitis Foundation

In 2005 C. Stephen Foster, MD, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, founded MERSI (Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution), a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to research, education, surgery, and treatment of inflammatory diseases of the eye after 30 years at The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary where he created the Immunology and Uveitis Service and began the Uveitis and Ocular Immunology Fellowship. Dr. Foster continues to be devoted to the care of his patients, teach fellows and direct a research laboratory in his new private institution, where he has formed a research and education Foundation, the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation.

Foster is a leader in his field and is widely regarded by his colleagues and patients as having revolutionized the care of adults and children with ocular inflammatory disease. Through research studying diseases outside the field of ocular medicine, Foster has developed new treatments that are dramatically more effective than the traditional treatment of steroid drops. Foster estimates the new treatment, a type of chemotherapy, raises the number of patients whose blindness
is reversed or prevented to around 80 percent, compared with the previous rate of almost zero.

Dr. Foster has authored over 600 publications, sees and treats patients from all over the world with cataracts, glaucoma, cornea and external ocular diseases, and uveitis. He teaches cataract, corneal microsurgery and vitreal surgery for inflammatory eye disease. Among the many important awards honoring Dr. Foster for his pioneering work are the following: the American Academy of Ophthalmology Award (1983), the Hippocrates Medal, Swedish Royal Academy of Medicine (1985), the American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Honor Award (1993), the Research to Prevent Blindness Senior Scientific Investigator Award (1995), the Diaz Caneja Medal (2003), the International Ocular Inflammation Society Award (2003), the Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology (2005) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2007).
The Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation’s exclusive education program educates patients, their family members and friends, and the medical community about ocular inflammatory disease through educational conferences, literature and outreach. This support is offered on a worldwide level. OIUF maintains the most complete ocular inflammatory disease web resource which offers all patients and medical personnel a vast amount of information that is easily accessible and available on its website.

For more information about Dr. Foster and the Ocular immunology and Uveitis Foundation please visit www.uveitis.org