All our services and materials for patients and their families are free, in part because of YOUR support!
On May 14, Discovery Eye Foundation presented the 2011 Vision Symposium in San Diego, CA. It was a large and warm gathering of eye doctors, researchers, patients and family members. Sessions included a presentation on the future of cataract surgery as it affects people with other eye conditions and an update on our research at the Gavin Hebert Eye Laboratories at the University of California, Irvine.
Following that session, attendees had the opportunity to choose from talks on Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma and Keratoconus. We were fortunate to have leaders in the field come out on a Saturday morning to share their knowledge. Dr. Michael Goldbaum, from Scripps Eye Institute, brought people up to date on what we know about AMD, the treatments available and how lifestyle changes can slow vision loss. Dr. Paul E. Tornambe, also from Scripps, gave a hopeful presentation on the latest research, including therapies that may become available in the next year or so. These include something for dry macular degeneration, which has no treatment at this time.
Dr. Avani Patel brought her skills as a low vision specialist to share with the audience the variety of devices available to help low vision and also tips and tricks on managing daily activities despite limited vision.
During the conference, exhibitors of useful devices and services were available to demonstrate digital magnifiers and let people know about resources available to those with vision loss.
Having this information can change people's lives and we can do it, thanks to YOU!
It's a new year here at the Macular Degeneration Partnership and new opportunities to make a difference to seniors and their families.
We'd like to start the year by saying "thank you" to all our members and supporters. You've helped us to reach more people at risk for macular degeneration and to help those who are struggling with vision loss. We appreciate all you do!
Early 2011 is full of opportunities and we'll be very busy. We are once again partnering with Braille Institute, bringing presentations on macular degeneration to communities in Southern California. There are 5-7 of these sessions every month, reaching hundreds of people. At every meeting, there are always people who didn't know that AMD can be genetic and that their family members are at risk. We're able to give them healthy lifestyle recommendations for their adult children and siblings - information that may delay the onset of macular degeneration vision loss. At a recent senior center event, several people said it was "...the best talk we've ever had...!". That's the kind of comment that keeps us going!
In May, Discovery Eye Foundation will bring the Macular Degeneration Partnership to San Diego for a Vision Symposium. In addition to hearing physician experts on AMD, attendees will be able to try out assistive devices and learn about free services available in the community. Folks really appreciate being able to ask questions directly from retinalogists and low vision specialists. They'll be getting an update on the exciting research currently underway for treatments for both dry and wet AMD.
One of the best things we offer is our toll-free "warm line" for patients and family members. We spend a lot of time on the phone, answering questions, clearing up confusion about vitamins and treatment, providing local resources and just being there to listen. Inevitably, we hear from callers, "I just learned more from you on this call than in years of searching for information. I feel so much better having talked with you!".
Read the current newsletter for research information and tips on living with low vision.
The past months have been an extremely busy time for the Macular Degeneration Partnership. Through our various projects, we have reached tens of thousands of people.
The Macular Degeneration Partnership collaborated with other vision organizations during AMD Week in September to send over half a million messages prompting people to get an eye exam. Early detection can lead to early treatment - saving sight for millions of people with age-related macular degeneration. The AMD Week Project included personalized e-cards that could be forwarded to family and friends. Involving our members in advocacy helps us to reach more people.
The Partnership has been very active in the Southern California region, addressing senior groups as part of a collaboration with the Braille Institute. On average, we visit 3 senior communities a month to share the Amsler Grid screening test and vision simulation card, as well as to answer individual questions about AMD.
At the annual AARP Event and Expo in Orlando, Florida, thousands of seniors passed through the Vision Pavilion. While at our booth, they used the screening test, tried on protective sunglasses, learned how better lighting could help vision and had hands on experience with digital magnifiers. After the show, over 1000 new people had learned about macular degeneration and controlling their risk factors for the disease.
Our toll-free warm line and email response system are always busy with questions. Our personal attention is what sets us apart. As one caller said, " Thank you so much for this! It is comforting to know there is a 'voice' at the other end." Call us at 888-430-9898 if you have any questions about macular degeneration or need help finding resources.
The Orange County Vision Symposium reached hundreds of people with critical information about eye disease and resources for living with low vision.
Held on June 26th at the University of California, Irvine, the conference covered age-related macular degeneration, keratoconus, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa. In addition, a session on "Vision 2020" covered exciting prospects for stem cell and genetic treatments. Some of the leading experts in macular degeneration and research presented the latest findings and answered questions from the audience.
Henry J. Klassen, MD, PhD shared his excitement about the retinal regeneration projects underway at UC Irvine. This Discovery Eye Foundation-funded scientist is working collaboratively with several universities around the globe to devise therapies based on stem cells from the patient's own eye. Michael B. Gorin, MD, PhD from the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute, shared research findings on genetics, prevention and treatment, as well as restorative therapies like stem cell. Stephanie Lu, MD, from the faculty of UC Irvine, covered the wide range of concerns for people with age-related macular degeneration.
Avani Patel, OD spoke encouragingly about the value of low vision rehabilitation. She shared techniques and devices that can make a difference, as well as the value of a positive attitude and support system.
Throughout the day, attendees could visit with exhibitors providing resources from the State of California, non-profit organizations and numerous low vision device companies.
The event received "excellent" reviews and guarantees that more of these useful seminars will be held.
Thank you for your support in providing information and resources to those with eye disease and low vision.
What a difference a "commercial" can make! In the case of Mrs. H, in the Pacific Northwest, it may have saved her vision. "Without you, I would never have seen the retinal specialist and found out about my problem", she said. After hearing a radio spot, she realized that maybe her vision problem was not just a part of aging. She called later to talk to our staff and learn more about macular degeneration and how to cope with it.
Our tollfree "warm line" is a lifeline for many people with AMD and their families. There are not many organizations that provide immediate access to a friendly and well-informed professional. Every day, we help many people deal with the emotional and practical realities of vision loss - and help them to find resources in their own neighborhoods.
Thank you for supporting this important work. As Mrs. H told us, "It's wonderful to know that there are organizations like Macular Degeneration Partnership. I am so grateful to be able to talk with someone about what I'm going through. It's making such a difference!"
You are making that difference, too.
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