We've Been Funding Research Since 1983
Retina Australia, formerly known as the Australian Retinitis Pigmentosa Association, was founded in 1983 after founding member Bob Daniels returned from the International Retinitis Pigmentosa Association Congress in Baltimore, USA in 1982. He was full of enthusiasm and determined to instigate Australian research to cure eye diseases previously placed in the ‘to hard basket’.
The organisation was incorporated in 1983 and lead of a group of volunteers who were personally affected by Retinitis Pigmentosa and had previously led organisations in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales decided to join forces.
The role of the Australian Retinitis Pigmentosa Association was to combine funds raised by state based organisations and allocate them to Australian medical researchers in the field of inherited eye disease.
In 1993, after the International Retinitis Pigmentosa Association became Retina International and broadened its scope to focus on not just Retinitis Pigmentosa but all inherited retinal diseases, the Australian Retinitis Pigmentosa Association followed suit and became Retina Australia.
As of 1 January 2019, Retina Australia has become a singular, fully national fundraising body with a national office in Melbourne. A new Constitution governs the national body.
Since it’s inception, Retina Australia has raised more than $5.5 million for Australian research into inherited retinal disease.
Over the years we have funded research into areas including gene therapy, stem cell therapy, artificial prostheses, and the psychological or sociological aspects of living with an inherited retinal disease. Our members have also contributed to research through personal interviews and non-invasive testing.
Retina Australia is proud to have been an early contributor to the Australian Bionic Eye project. Through a 2001 grant of $40,000, two trained engineers developed the initial prototype of the bionic eye. These researchers are currently involved in refining and advancing their work through funding provided by the Australian Government.
Retina Australia also continues to fund the Australian Inherited Retinal Disease Register and DNA Bank. This data bank, operating since 1984, is regarded as paramount to improve the treatment of, or cure of, inherited retinal disease.