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A grateful patient’s mission

Arne divine

In 1991, Arne Divine began losing his sight because of ischemic optic neuropathy (ION), caused by an obstruction of the blood flowing to his optic nerve. The condition ultimately robbed him of nearly half of his vision and has had a profound impact on his life.

“You lose your independence when you have impaired vision,” says Divine, who is 80 years old.

Divine was treated for his ION by physicians in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Ophthalmology, first by the late Jonathan Wirtschafter, M.D. As part of Divine’s treatment, he participated in drug therapy, which stopped further vision loss. “Since then my vision has stabilized,” he says.

Divine now believes that his vision loss has given him a new perspective and has sparked a new mission in his life—rallying support for pediatric ophthalmology.

Divine graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950 with a degree in accounting. He attended college on the GI Bill of Rights while supporting his mother and sister. Divine says that getting an education was tough but crucial.

And although he retired from his accounting firm in 1995, Divine hasn’t slowed down. He currently serves on four boards and is a partner in four venture capital companies for which he serves as the primary internal accountant.

In recent years, Divine also has become a tireless advocate for causes related to pediatric ophthalmology. In addition to having personally given generously to the Department of Ophthalmology, Divine encourages others to donate and attends lectures and talks to doctors about the importance of pediatric ophthalmology.

“More young people should get a better shot at life,” he says, and he believes that supporting pediatric ophthalmology can make that a reality.

Divine also wants to inspire others to act. He starts by telling them to close their eyes and imagine going about their daily tasks without sight. “I want other people to have the same passion I have,” he says.


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