A Story of Friends, Aliens, Retinas, and Rock & Roll
Praise for Retina Boy
Researchers were mystified by the boy from Des Moines born without retinas. Strangers and friends were mesmerized by his luminescent, aquamarine eyes. Retina Boy grew up to be a carefree teenager. He played amazing lead guitar in an awesome, classic rock cover band. His girlfriend, Marcy, though unable to walk, was the smartest kid in their school. They were a perfect pair—she was his eyes and he was her legs. Never did Retina Boy imagine he was from another planet, and that he and Marcy would be called upon to save the Earth and an alien world of blind inhabitants on the brink of environmental collapse.
This book is dedicated to all individuals and families with challenging visual impairments. I am especially grateful to those with retinal degenerative diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, Leber congenital amaurosis, Usher syndrome, Stargardt disease, and age-related macular degeneration. As a writer for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing dozens of people and families impacted by these retinal conditions. While I fully embrace the Foundation’s mission to eradicate all retinal degenerative diseases, “Retina Boy” is an homage to those who persevere and thrive despite having few treatments or cures for their vision loss. Their courage, resourcefulness, and resilience have been incredibly inspiring for me. They are my heroes.
I’ve also had the privilege of reporting on retinal research advancements for emerging therapies to save and restore vision. It has been a fascinating journey. I’d like to thank the following investigators for enlightening me, a nonscientist, about the retina and related research:
Gus Aguirre, Rando Allikmets, John Ash, Isabelle Audo, Radha Ayyagari, William Beltran, Jean Bennett, Paul Bernstein, Eliot Berson, David Birch, Dean Bok, Shannon Boye, Craig Beeson, Kari Branham, Dan Chung, Artur Cideciyan, Dennis Clegg, Jason Comander, Frans Cremers, Stephen Daiger, Jill Dolgin, John Dowling, Jacque Duncan, Jane Farrar, Gerald Fishman, John Flannery, Peter Francis, David Gamm, Mort Goldberg, Sandeep Grover, Karina Guziewicz, William Hauswirth, Dennis Hoffman, Mark Humayun, Alex Iannoccone, Sam Jacobson, Christine Kay, Bill Kimberling, Henry Klassen, Alan Laties, Matt LaVail, Jennifer Lentz, Ray Lund, Ian MacDonald, Robert MacLaren, Al Maguire, Michel Michaelides, Muna Naash, Kris Palczewski, Mark Pennesi, Eric Pierce, Barb Rohrer, José Sahel, Tim Schoen, Hendrik Scholl, Johanna Seddon, Dror Sharon, Ed Stone, Tim Stout, Janet Sunness, Karmen Trzupek, Dick Weleber, Michael Young, Don Zack, and Marco Zarbin.