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March 28, 2005
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director

Noted Glaucoma Specialist to Speak at April 20 AEVR Briefing on Glaucoma Detection and Treatment

(Washington, DC) Today, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) announced that Christopher Girkin, MD, MSPH, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will speak about glaucoma detection and treatment at a Capitol Hill luncheon briefing to be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2005, from 12 Noon -1:15 pm in Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226. The briefing, entitled Glaucoma Detection and Treatment: African Americans with Glaucoma Study, is the second in an AEVR-sponsored series devoted to educating Congress about vision health disparities research being conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Dr. Girkin, an investigator in the NEI-sponsored African Americans with Glaucoma Study, will discuss how the study builds on previous research on racial differences in the optic nerve and cornea by developing detection techniques that are more sensitive to these physiological differences and potential changes over time. Earlier detection results in earlier diagnosis and treatment, often with pressure reducing drops that can delay or prevent the onset of the disease, as shown in the NEI-sponsored Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study.

Cassandra Page, UAB's Administrative Coordinator, will describe efforts to reach out to the African American churches in Birmingham to engage study participants, as well as the impact of the study results on the community. AEVR President Stephen Ryan, MD, will host the briefing.

In announcing the event, AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky stated, "AEVR is proud to present another example of the important vision health disparity research that NEI sponsors, following up on last September's Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) briefing. I am especially pleased that Ms. Page will join Dr. Girkin to describe the involvement of and impact on the Birmingham community of this important federally funded research."

Dr. Girkin is an Associate Professor and Director, Glaucoma Service, in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is the recipient of the Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Clinician-Scientist Award for 2005. Dr. Stephen Ryan is President of the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California.


The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 44 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVR's goal is to achieve the best vision for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI), and other federal research entities. Visit NAEVR's Web site at