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BrightFocus Foundation Celebrates 50 Years of Biomedical Research Breakthroughs

Anniversary campaign features a unique microsite and call for stories.
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BrightFocus scientific milestones

WASHINGTON (May 15, 2023) — In celebration of its 50th anniversary, BrightFocus Foundation announces the launch of a yearlong campaign and microsite celebrating the international nonprofit’s strides in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma and toward greater awareness of the importance of funding brain and vision research and education.  

BrightFocus and its flagship research programs — Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research — have catalyzed thousands of scientific breakthroughs, including life-enhancing treatments and diagnostic tools.

“Investing in research is the only path to a cure,” said BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Haller. “With more than 300 million people worldwide affected by these mind and sight diseases, we have no time to waste.”

As a leader in eye and brain research, BrightFocus fuels cross-disease discoveries that can enable earlier detection, diagnosis, and — ultimately — more personalized treatments.

BrightFocus has invested $300 million in research grants since inception, and discoveries by its more than 6,000 funded scientists include such novel findings as:

  • The development of the first commercially available blood test in the U.S. to identify early signs of Alzheimer’s disease (2020)
  • The first-ever reversal of age-related vision loss and eye damage from glaucoma using gene therapy (2021)
  • A first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence model that could one day detect Alzheimer’s by reading a patient’s retina images (2022)

Other advancements by BrightFocus-funded scientists include the first optical test to diagnose Alzheimer’s (2003) and the identification of a new Alzheimer’s disease blood biomarker (2021).  

In addition to funding research across 25 countries, BrightFocus also helped establish Alzheimer’s disease research programs in the Netherlands (1993), Germany (1995), Belgium (1995), and France (2005), broadening support of and promoting discoveries for dementia research internationally.

BrightFocus also provides educational opportunities for scientists and free resources for the public. The Foundation's Fast Track education programs have trained thousands of early-career scientists and its free educational resources and public information programs reach more than 300 million people annually.  

Explore a full timeline of historic advancements at

Additional 50th anniversary celebration year highlights include:

  • Congressional Briefing, June 14, 2023, Washington, D.C. — A gathering to recognize the urgent need for vision and brain research funding and to highlight the importance of health equity and diversity in research and clinical trial participation. Learn more.
  • #BoldResearchCan Call for Stories — BrightFocus is hosting a year-round conversation on social media to help increase awareness about the need for a #MindSightCure. Fifty prizes will be awarded to participants through May 2024 (restrictions apply). Learn more.

To learn more about BrightFocus Foundation’s 50th anniversary activities, visit

About BrightFocus Foundation

BrightFocus Foundation is a premier global nonprofit funder of research to defeat Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Through its flagship research programs — Alzheimer’s Disease Research, National Glaucoma Research, and Macular Degeneration Research — the Foundation has awarded nearly $300 million in groundbreaking research funding over the past 50 years and shares the latest research findings, expert information, and resources to empower the millions impacted by these devastating diseases. Learn more at

Media Contacts*:

Kaci Baez
Vice President, Integrated Marketing and Communications, BrightFocus Foundation
(301) 556-9370

Julia Roth
Director, Marketing and Communications, BrightFocus Foundation
(301) 556-9382

*Press images and media interviews available