Why should our Organisation become a member of Retina International?

The unique and mutual benefits from a formal relationship with Retina International (RI) are the result of almost 40 years of sharing knowledge and resources. Becoming a member is a unique opportunity to share in our knowledge, experience, support services and blindness-related networks.

The breadth and depth of scientific, medical and patient-related knowledge that exists within RI is significant. Members enjoy many benefits – benefits you might expect to derive from an organisation comprising 33 national societies, an international Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB) and an international Management Committee. At any one time, many of our affiliated members, scientists or volunteers are willing and able to share their knowledge and expertise with you. This knowledge could be in scientific or clinical research, fundraising, advocacy, peer support, rehabilitation and a range of other areas. The collective knowledge of such work can only be easily shared through the existence of an organisation dedicated to international co-operation and collaboration.  A unified effort focussed principally on finding the answers to Retinal Dystrophies causing vision loss.

The experience of RI over the last four decades highlights the need to unite patient groups across the globe. The revolutionary steps from animal studies to Phase 1 human clinical trials to emerging therapies have only been made possible through the collaboration of international researchers - collaboration that the patient groups of RI instigated, facilitated and now expect results from. The patient groups have been the founders, the supporters and often the conscience of the researchers and we have worked with them and supported their tremendous efforts to find the answers we seek. Through their dedication, many more treatments are fast approaching and the next few years will be a pivotal time in the field of retinal research and development.

The fact remains that treatment development cannot happen without patient support. RI's mission and vision is about effective and efficient patient support- whether this is in the form of international patient databases, funding support or awareness raising and advocacy - only a united, well-coordinated movement will enable this community acheive its goals of access to life-changing treatments.

As a member of RI, your organisation receives access to up-to-the-minute information on the latest in research and development via our conferences and newsletters. Endorsement via our membership qualification criteria and use of our logo are just some of the vehicles by which we deliver support to our members. We co-ordinate World Retina Day, provide internationally-agreed Scientific and Medical Advice, represent the voice of patients living with vision loss at multi-national organization level (EPF, EURORDIS, IAPO, EURETINA, ARVO etc) and add our weight to all endeavours consistent with our vision and mission.

Some appreciation of the extent of RIs  network can be gained through this website. The network, however, is as strong as the collective resources and commitment of our member organisations. Ultimately, it is the collective efforts of an optimal number of national societies that will determine our progression towards achieving our mission. That mission states “Retina International promises to facilitate urgently the development, and ensure the world-wide availability and accessibility, of proven treatments and cures for Retinitis Pigmentosa, Macular Degeneration, Usher Syndrome, and allied retinal dystrophies”.

Our responsibility towards those affected by vision loss worldwide means we must continue to provide meaningful support as researchers and clinicians progress towards treatments and cures. This responsibility is currently undertaken by just 33 organisations from  the world’s 203 sovereign states. Becoming an affiliated member organization will mean your organisation will also stand proud of, and benefit from, having a role in seeing more of these milestones reached.

RI's structure comprises three categories of members, a system which means that organisations can access some membership benefits as they go about meeting requirements of specific membership categories and making sure funds can be allocated to meeting the cost of full membership. Retina International's membership fees reflect our best attempt to apportion our operational costs fairly whilst sustaining the activity levels we know are needed to achieve meaningful results.

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