Public Engagement Day 2021

October 12, 2021

This year we will host our second virtual Retina conference on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 November. Hosted entirely online, Retina 2021 will bring together top international and Irish researchers and clinicians in the global effort to find treatments and cures for conditions causing vision impairment and blindness.

On Friday 5 November we will host our scientific programme for researchers and clinicians. Our Public Engagement Day for people living with sight loss will run on Saturday 6 November through video conferencing platform Zoom.

Guest speakers will provide a range of presentations covering research developments, supports and services, access to medicines, tips for looking after your eyes and much more.

To register for your free spot, visit our Public Engagement Day event page.

Our full agenda is below or you can download directly here also:

Click here to read a Word version (This file will download directly)

Click here for a PDF version (This file will open in a new tab)


Public Engagement Day: Saturday, 6 November 2021

Welcome and introduction

09.55am         Morning has broken: Visionaries choir


10.10am         Opening Address – We are Fighting Blindness

Kevin Whelan, CEO of Fighting Blindness


10.15               Welcome – Enda Kenny, former Taoiseach


10.20am         The Fight Goes On

Brendan Buckley, Chairman of Fighting Blindness

Michael Griffith, Founder of Fighting Blindness


Session 1

10.40am         How our community’s resilience passed the test

Peter O’Toole, Head of Support at Fighting Blindness


11.00am          Attending to our losses and potential – Breandan Ward


11.20am         Stronger Together; how to join friends and influence people

Neil Ward, Advocacy, Fighting Blindness


11.30am          Why am I denied the therapy available that could save my sight?

James Kennedy, Fighting Blindness Ambassador


11.40am         How Luxturna helped me see things again

Jake Ternent, Fighting Blindness Ambassador


11.50am          World Sight Day 2021 – Getting the message


12.00pm          Break [20 mins]


Session 2

12.20pm          CLINICAL, SCIENCE, RESEARCH           PPI and VIP network

Dr Rachel Bermingham joined by PhD researcher Laura Whelan and Tess Ames, project manager at Orbital.


12.50pm        STAY HEALTHY: good eye health

Dr Kirk Stephenson, Specialist Registrar in Ophthalmology


1.10pm            The treatments currently being developed in eye care.

Ben Shaberman, Foundation Fighting Blindness, USA


1.40pm            Paddy Byrne Empowerment Award

Sponsored by Novartis Ireland


1.50pm            The Eric Beggs Award



1.55pm            Closing Address

Kevin Whelan, CEO of Fighting Blindness