“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see,” Mark Twain famously said. Yet in our egocentric existence we often forget those who lack abilities we take for granted. Being unable to see a familiar face or enjoy a glowing sunset can be traumatizing and heartbreaking.
The Foundation for Fighting Blindness and the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute sought to illuminate the often marginalized with the Orange County Shine the Light dinner, which took place on March 22 at the Fairmont, Newport Beach.
“As we highlight cutting-edge research and clinical trials lighting the way to treatments and cures for blinding eye diseases, it’s only appropriate to recognize three visionaries who have impacted the ophthalmic field in such significant ways,” said William T. Schmidt, foundation CEO.
Dr. Richard Kratz received a Lifetime Achievement award for his extensive work in ophthalmology. Kratz was one of the first to perform and teach the modern cataract surgery called phaceomulification with intraocular lenses. His dedication to his patients has helped many regain or improve their sight.
The event also honored ophthalmic industry leaders Dr. Tibor Juhasz and Dr. Stephan J. Ryan.
“We’re lucky to partner with the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, another organization intently focused on saving sight, to bring together Southern California’s most astute ophthalmic minds,” said Schmidt.
The Shine the Light banquet and its nearly 200 attendees raised more than $350,000 toward the study of vision-based degenerative diseases and the construction of an innovative institute facility.
“With Orange County having the highest concentration of vision technology companies in the world, collaboration is a common thread in all that we do,” said Dr. Roger Steinert, institute director, who is chair of the Department of Ophthalmology in the UCI School of Medicine.
“Joining forces for Shine the Light is one example, and the new institute will allow for many opportunities to expand our translational research efforts and support of clinical trials, as well as care for patients more efficiently,” said Steinert.
The $31 million, 70,000-square-foot Institute will include state-of-the-art patient exam and waiting areas, an outpatient surgery center and an optical shop, as well as faculty and conference space.
As a national axis of quality eye care and research, and as the only university-affiliated, full-service, multi-specialty eye center between San Diego and Los Angeles, the Institute will be a place of promise and restoration. The facility is slated for completion in 2013.
More events for great causes:
§ The Make-A-Wish Foundation hosted the second annual Walk for Wishes at the Orange County Great Park on April 21, where participants enjoyed free rides on the Great Park Balloon. Many Wish families attended to support and inspire the walkers.
§ Steve Churm (publisher of OC METRO) and his family will be honored with the 2012 Dove Award at Human Options’ annual Serious Fun fundraiser, at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach on May 11. The event will feature a silent auction, cocktail hour, live music and awards.