The IMRF boards consist of dedicated researchers, vision monitoring tool developers, doctors, eye care professionals, patient advocates, support group coordinators, behavioral specialists, and educators that have worked in the areas of Macular Degeneration and Retinal Disease for many years and believe in our mission. These knowledgeable individuals on our boards (i.e. Fiduciary Board, Scientific Advisory Board, Patient Advisory Board, and Education Outreach Board) all graciously DONATE THEIR TIME AND EFFORTS to support our mission of preventing blindness from Macular Degeneration and other retinal diseases through awareness, support, research, and education. Collectively we have over 150 years of innovative experience in the areas of Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathies such as Diabetic Macular Edema. Many of them are professors, researchers, doctors, and published authors in their fields.
Our team started to come together over 10 years ago. One of our co-founders was diagnosed with a form of macular degeneration at an early age. There were no effective treatments or home monitoring tools at that time so it progressed and he went blind in his left eye. It was his frustration with the lack of information, comprehensive education on macular generation and home monitoring tools that inspired him 15 years ago to initiate the development of innovative tools to prevent others from losing vision and going blind like he did. Now started the journey of building a research and development team, gathering information and networking with medical professionals.
The Amsler grid was from the dark ages and no one even talked about AMD. Not even the Optometrists mentioned it and they are usually the first eye care professionals’ people see for routine eye exams and updated eye glasses prescriptions. No one was saying anything until it became a crisis. It is said that, Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans Don’t Know that Macular Degeneration is a Leading Cause of Blindness in People Over Age 60. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Will Affect an Estimated 20 Million People in the United States by 2020.
Did you know that besides old age, there are other health issues and lifestyle choices that could affect your vision health? We started to get together and discuss the need for easily accessible, comprehensive, engaging, and economical home monitoring tools that could be used between eye exams since that is when the changes in vision that could be related to AMD happened. The KeepSight Journal with tools was created after many, many manpower hours of research, development and interviewing of numerous AMD patients. The tools were used in a study we collaborated with Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute on and that was supported by the National Eye Institute. The results showed a 500% improvement in patient engagement and confidence.
We knew through our patient research that the only way for the new treatments that are available now to have the best chance of working is if people understood the importance of identifying changes in their vision in a timely manner so they can immediately notify an eye care professional and receive the proper care. Most people rely on their annual eye exam to identify changes and for those who don’t even get an annual exam chances for loss of vision are even greater. It is between eye exams that most changes happen and go unnoticed. If people knew how to test their vision at home between eye exams, understood AMD, knew what to look for; enjoyed doing it because it was engaging and easy; knew what to do next and had confidence in taking charge of their vision health, we have the potential to save people’s sight. This is how the International Macular and Retinal Foundation (IMRF) came to be.
With the establishment of the IMRF we could fund the updating of education, printing and distribution of the journal. It allowed us to provide the KeepSight journal with tools for a wide population. We know the significance in getting it to those who need it. From our patient research we made sure it was a realistic tool that people didn’t have to worry about insurance or cost. In addition, we would have the ability to continue our patient research and also support researchers who are looking for new treatments for both wet and dry AMD. This also allowed us to continue providing AMD education and support for seniors, caregivers, family members and activity directors. Having the ability to bring awareness of AMD to communities that can make a difference in millions of lives and help them to maintain their independence is our life’s work so, we are very hands on and involved personally in the projects, events and education.
Macular and Retinal disease are the leading cause of adult blindness in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Although excellent treatments are now available to help stop these diseases, they must be started promptly for them to work their best.
“Unfortunately, most people wait to long before seeing a doctor and can lose much of their vision. This vision loss could have been prevented! The goal of the IMRF is to help provide people with the tools and information needed to help save their vision.”
With your support – we are helping thousands of people take better care of their eyes, so that they can seek help the moment that it is needed and save their vision.
IMRF is an innovative foundation focused on preserving people’s sight and preventing vision loss – especially in people with retinal and macular diseases – including Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Retinopathies such as Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).
- We provide patients with free tools to monitor their vision and that help alert them to possible problems as quickly as possible so they keep their sight
- We educate patients and their families on how to help prevent vision loss through our free seminars and materials
- We support researchers who are working on new ways to prevent vision loss and conduct patient centered research projects which provides insight that will be used to better serve patients
- We help patients maintain their independence and confidence in being proactive about their vision care
- We work cooperatively with fellow non-profit peers who provide resources different from ours but whose mission like ours is to help prevent blindness so our IMRF community benefits
IMRF has been organized to make the most of your donation to provide direct support for patients and their families. We commit to using 100% of public donations to deliver services and tools directly to patients and their families. Our administrative costs are sensible and managed through donations from a small number of founding sponsors, research sponsors and corporate sponsors so that every penny of public fundraising can go directly to services and support to patients in need of tools and education to better care for their vision so to prevent vision loss. Many generous people support our mission of preventing blindness and finding a cure.