New York, NY (December 3, 2008) – At its December 3rd Annual Black & White Ball, The Glaucoma Foundation (TGF) presented its first Award for Excellence and Innovation in Glaucoma to Robert Ritch, MD, the founder of TGF and its Medical Director and Chairman of The Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. It was also announced that the award, to be given annually, will be renamed the Dr. Robert Ritch Award for Excellence and Innovation in Glaucoma.
Dr. Ritch holds the Shelley and Steven Einhorn Distinguished Chair in Ophthalmology and is Surgeon Director and Chief of Glaucoma Services at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York.
Making the presentation to Dr. Ritch at The Glaucoma Foundation’s annual fundraising event at The Pierre Hotel in New York City, Gregory K. Harmon, M.D., Chairman of TGF, noted that this new award recognizes the contributions of individuals who have played a significant and unique role in promoting the medicine and science of glaucoma. “Dr. Ritch has devoted his career to broadening our knowledge of the nature of glaucoma and innovation in the medical, laser, and surgical management of glaucoma,” he said. “His contributions have been indispensable to setting the momentum for research in the field and it is most fitting that we give this award in his name.”
In addition to the Ritch award, New York Governor David A. Paterson was honored at the December 3rd Black & White Ball as the recipient of the 2008 Kitty Carlisle Hart Award of Merit for Lifetime Achievement.
Dr. Ritch founded TGF in 1984 to support translational research to identify factors that lead to glaucoma and to develop new methods of treatment. At the time, the public was barely aware of the disease and its devastating effects. In 1994 he initiated The Glaucoma Foundation’s annual Think Tank on Optic Nerve Rescue and Restoration, gathering scientists and researchers that first year to discuss the latest research in the emerging field of nerve regeneration. The International Think Tank, unique in its interdisciplinary format, has attracted established researchers in other fields to glaucoma and continues to generate new concepts that have greatly advanced the field.
Dr. Ritch has co-authored or edited seven textbooks and over 1300 medical and scientific papers and other writings. He has trained over 120 clinical and research fellows, many of whom occupy academic positions worldwide. He was one of the three organizers of the first annual World Glaucoma Day in 2008. He was co-founder of the Ophthalmic Laser Surgical Society, the New York Glaucoma Society, and the Lindberg Society, an international organization dedicated to the eradication of exfoliation syndrome, and the U.S.-Russia Ophthalmology Task Force. He is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2006 he received the Albion O. Bernstein, MD Award of the Medical Society of the State of New York for outstanding contributions to medicine. More recently he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Honor and Leadership in Education in Ophthalmology (LEO) Awards from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He has organized meetings, established teaching programs and helped to modernize ophthalmology in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar and other countries in Asia.
The mission of The Glaucoma Foundation (TGF) is to fund groundbreaking research and to educate the public about the disease and the importance of early detection to prevent blindness. Founded in1984 by Dr. Robert Ritch, TGF is one of the premier not-for-profit organizations dedicated to eradicating blindness from glaucoma through vital research and education. In addition to the new Dr. Robert Ritch Award for Innovation and Excellence in Glaucoma, the organization sponsors two other accolades: The Kitty Carlisle Hart Award of Merit for Lifetime Achievement and the Corporate Visionary Award.
For information about TGF, contact Gabrielle Bamberger, 212-333-5222
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