24–26 November 2017 • Berlin, Germany
in cooperation with
"Low Vision and the Brain"
4r-vision: rescue, regeneration, restoration, rehabilitation
Welcome to Berlin, the city of art, culture and science. This is the city where Hermann von Helmholtz – founder of psychophysics - and Alexander v. Humboldt – the father of empirical science – were known for their visionary contributions on exploring the human mind and the laws of nature. In their spirit, this conference explores the topic of vision loss after damage to the retina, optic nerve or brain. Such neurodegenerations are considered irreversible, wherein the best practice is currently to slowing decline through eye drops or surgery. The retina, optic nerve and visual cortex present very particular challenges in clinical management as so many patients are left with permanent visual loss as a result of late presentation or a lack of universally effective treatments. But progress in science and technology gives rise towards a more optimistic future of prevention, compensation and even improvement of low vision. These advances impact different visual system diseases affecting the nervous system, including typical “eye diseases” such as glaucoma, optic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and amblyopia. But low vision is also found in neurological diseases of the brain´s visual system including stroke and trauma, normal aging, dementia, Huntington and Parkinson´s diseases.
“4r-vision” is an international and multidisciplinary conference that will highlight diagnostic and treatment approaches that aim to modulate nervous system structure and function though rescue, regeneration, restoration and rehabilitation. Besides the retina – with its 1 gram of tissue weight - the brain´s visual system (>100 gr) is also a potential target to offer new research opportunities and options for patient care. This conference will showcase recent paradigm shifts in basic science, clinical care, and industry innovations, including drugs and devices that can reduce cell death, stem cells and regeneration, behavioural training and electrical devices (prosthesis and non-invasive brain stimulation) that restore some vision and/or strengthen residual visual capacities through brain plasticity. In addition, psychological topics will be discussed, such as the role of stress and coping difficulties in low vision, substitution and compensation.
4r-vision is unique as it addresses the eye-brain interaction in an interdisciplinary manner, touching the fields of ophthalmology, neurology, molecular biology, neuropsychology, rehabilitation psychology, engineering, and technology. 4r-vision will present next steps to brighten the light at the end of the tunnel of blindness, highlighting innovative methods that give us more wiggle room to prevent loss and improve vision. The conference is an interdisciplinary hub for exchanging scientific advances, innovation and ideas for commercialization, to tackle this major unsolved problem in medicine. I look forward to welcoming scientists and clinicians from all over the world to participate in the exciting atmosphere of 4r-vision meeting in this city of art, culture, and science.
Bernhard A. Sabel, PhD