Pfizer Ophthalmics Commits $1.2 Million To VisionConnection.org Web site

NEW YORK, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Lighthouse International, a leading not-for-profit organization focusing on vision impairment and vision rehabilitation, announced today that it has been awarded a $1.2 million sponsorship by Pfizer's Ophthalmics division. The grant will support VisionConnection.org -- a one-stop portal providing the latest information on vision impairment, its prevention, and vision rehabilitation for people who are partially sighted or blind, their families, and eye care professionals.

VisionConnection.org, which was launched in October 2003, by founder Lighthouse International, and lead partner the Royal National Institute for the Blind in the UK, allows users to adjust the font and graphics to colors and sizes that are more accessible to their vision standards. The Web site has had more than 250,000 visits to date.

"At Pfizer Ophthalmics, we proudly support VisionConnection.org, as it exemplifies our belief that vision impairment is a condition that affects communities, not just individuals. By partnering with Lighthouse International, and through our sponsorship of VisionConnection.org, we give people with visual impairment access to information and tools that enable them to be more independent and engaged members of society," said Neil Levine, senior director, group leader Endocrine Care/Ophthalmology, Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals. "This partnership demonstrates how innovation, education and the use of the latest technologies are crucial in achieving Pfizer's commitment to preserving sight and eliminating preventable blindness."

The sponsorship, the largest single corporate contribution the organization has received to-date, will be used in part to expand the Web site's resources and content, particularly focusing on eye care professionals, by adding features such as video footage of conference presentations and more information about the latest research and new products.

"We created VisionConnection.org to help bring the equalizing power of the Internet to the millions of people around the world with vision impairment," said Barbara Silverstone, DSW, president and CEO of Lighthouse International. "And we are deeply grateful to Pfizer for their corporate leadership and generous support of VisionConnection.org."

"We look forward to working with Pfizer toward a common goal of helping people who are visually impaired stay informed and connected to the resources that can help them overcome the challenges of vision impairment and retain their independence," added Rachel Hager, vice president and editorial director of VisionConnection.org.

About glaucoma

Glaucoma affects approximately three million people in the United States and 67 million people worldwide. Open-angle glaucoma, a condition in which there is too much pressure in the eye, is the most common form of glaucoma in the United States.

About VisionConnection.org

VisionConnection.org is a unique resource on vision impairment, its prevention, and vision rehabilitation for people who are blind or partially sighted, the professionals who work with them, the family and friends who support them, and the general public. This one-stop, accessible and interactive global Internet gateway seeks to bridge the digital divide by bringing the equalizing power of the Internet to provide hope, support and independence to millions of people around the world who are visually impaired and have not been able to harness all that the Internet offers due to accessibility issues. Directed by leading partners, Lighthouse International and the Royal National Institute of the Blind, in partnership with other leading vision rehabilitation organizations around the world, VisionConnection.org features region-specific content from its partners. Financial support for VisionConnection.org comprises foundation funding, individual donations, corporate sponsorships, and corporate contributions. The lead corporate sponsor of VisionConnection.org is Pfizer Ophthalmics.

About Pfizer Ophthalmics

The Pfizer Ophthalmics product line includes XALATAN(R) (latanoprose ophthalmic solution), the most prescribed treatment used to lower elevated eye pressure inpatients with ocular hypertension (abnormally high eye pressure) or open-angle glaucoma. Pfizer Ophthalmics is also studying the use of Macugen(TM) (pregaptanib sodium), a Phase III clinical trial drug. Macugen is being developed in partnership with Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, a New York-based biopharmaceuticals company specializing in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel ophthalmology therapeutics and devices.

XALATAN is the only ophthalmic prostaglandin derivative approved by the US Food & Drug Administration for first-line treatment of elevated eye pressure in patients with open angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Administered once daily, XALATAN is believed to lower IOP by increasing the rate at which fluid flows out of the eye. Like all medicines, XALATAN can have side effects. These side effects are usually mild and tolerable and may include blurred vision, burning and stinging, eyelid redness, the feeling that something is in the eye, eye itching, increased pigmentation (darkening) of eye color, or irritation of the clear front surface of the eye. XALATAN may slowly cause darkening of eye color due to increased brown color, darkening of the eyelid and eyelashes, and increased growth and thickness of eyelashes. Color changes can increase as long as XALATAN is administered; eye color changes are likely to be permanent.

Pfizer Inc. discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines, for humans and animals, and many of the world's best-known over-the-counter brands.

Lighthouse International

CONTACT: Srikant Ramaswami, Director, US Pharmaceuticals PublicRelations of Pfizer Inc, +1-212-733-8734, srikant.ramaswami@pfizer.com; orScott Havens, Director of Sales & Marketing of VisionConnection.org,+1-212-821-9342, shavens@lighthouse.com

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