“Discover Your Path” was the theme of the FFB’s Vision Quest educational events in 2016.
We visited four Canadian cities, hosted seven different events, and got to meet more than 750 attendees, clinicians, scientists, exhibitors and volunteers! We were also thrilled to live- broadcast our Toronto session about clinical trials, which has been viewed more than 1100 times.
A core goal of Vision Quest 2016 was to learn from YOU. We learned so much about the gaps in your vision care. For example, we now know that accessing genetic testing and genetic counseling is a significant challenge. Please take a moment to fill out the 2016 Vision Care Pathways Survey to tell us how we can help to improve your vision care.
It’s hard for me to pick my ten most favourite moments from Vision Quest, but everyone loves a good list, so I’ll give it a try:
1. Jack McCormick’s talk at Vision Quest Toronto. It was SO GOOD!!! If you missed it, you can watch it online — scroll down to the second video on the page (Vision Quest Retinal Disease Session, Part 2) and forward to the 34 minute mark.
2. The Edmonton Vision Quest session on employment, led by the Edmonton Patient Chair, Gerry Chevalier and Lorne Webber. You can download a copy of their handout here. Everyone keeps asking for it! (Update: we are having some technical difficulty uploading the form – please check back soon as we are working to resolve the issue)
3. Shelley Boyd’s exciting talk at the Toronto AMD Vision Quest about her ongoing work to develop a new treatment for dry-AMD! Dr. Boyd is incredible! Also – fun fact: did you know that everyone who has wet AMD also has dry AMD?!
4. Launching Cycle for Sight Newfoundland at the St. John’s Vision Quest, thanks to the Patient Chair Lawrence Penney and the amazing panel of speakers that he organized to talk about living and thriving with vision loss (big thank you to speakers and cyclists Nadine Green, Elisabeth Mayo, and Don Connolly).
5. Dr. Matthew Tennant’s talk about how a healthy lifestyle promotes eye health at the Edmonton AMD session. Thanks to AMI, you can listen to Dr. Tennant and watch highlights from the Edmonton Vision Quest here.
6. Meeting the exceptional vision care team in St. John’s! Did you know that the St. John’s Vision Quest research chair, Dr. Jane Green, studied genetics with David Suzuki?! How cool is that? Also, I am totally in awe of Dr. Green’s in depth knowledge of the history of genetic eye diseases in Newfoundland and Labrador.
7. Learning the latest updates from Dr. Andras Nagy at the Toronto AMD session about his plans to develop a one-shot stem cell therapy to treat wet-AMD. It was also extra special to introduce Dr. Nagy to Vision Quest attendee, Barbara Richie, who is generously supporting his research.
8. The panel discussion about inherited retinal diseases led by Dr. Ian MacDonald at the Edmonton Vision Quest. So many great tips – like the importance of having regular eye check-ups and practical suggestions about how to overcome genetic testing challenges.
9. Learning how bacteria in your gut impact the development of AMD at the Ottawa Vision Quest!! We were so happy that Dr. Mike Sapieha traveled to Ottawa to share his innovate research with the attendees!
10. Patient Chairs!! How did we ever plan Vision Quest without you?! I want to finish off by thanking all of the clinical, research, and patient chairs who volunteered their time and expertise to make Vision Quest a success. But, I especially want to thank the Patient Chairs because they took a leap by agreeing to pioneer this new role. Each Patient Chair put so much work and careful thought into planning the program, ensuring that the content was meaningful, interesting, and practical for people who are living with a blinding eye disease. For me, it was a true highlight to work with Fran Cutler and Joe Foster in Ottawa, with Gerry Chevalier in Edmonton, with Patty Gill and Jack McCormick in Toronto and with Lawrence Penney in St. John’s.
What were your favourite moments from Vision Quest? Meeting a new friend? Learning about the latest and greatest assistive technologies? We have already started to plan ahead for 2017 – make sure you let us know about the research and topics that you want to learn about! The great thing about research is that there is ALWAYS something new to talk about. Vision Quest is where you get to hear about breaking research news (like Dr. Sapieha’s) before it breaks!