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.
October was an exciting month for the Macular Degeneration Partnership! We were able to reach out to thousands of at-risk seniors at two events on the West Coast. One of our missions is to raise awareness of macular degeneration and to educate seniors about how they can protect and preserve their vision.
The AARP Annual Event and Expo draws over 25,000 people - all of them potentially at risk for age-related macular degeneration(AMD). Every year, the Partnership organizes a Vision Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall. Thousands of people visited our booth, took a self-test for AMD and learned about protecting their vision. Thanks to donations from FantasEyes and Live EyeWear, more than 100 of them walked away with new sunglasses. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can damage your retina and promote cataracts.
An unrestricted grant from Genentech, Inc. allowed us to work with the wonderful Doris Roberts, from "Everybody Loves Raymond". She drew almost 1200 people to our lifestyle session.
The California Women's Conference was next on our agenda. For one day, 25,000 women gathered to be educated and inspired. Since women are more at risk for AMD than men, this was a great opportunity to share tips for protecting their vision. We met many attendees who have macular degeneration in their family and who did not know about the genetic link and the danger to their own vision.
We continue to send out hundreds of helpful AMD Toolkits every month. People with macular degeneration call and email us with questions and worries. Your past donations have helped us provide help and support to thousands. Thank you for your continued support of our efforts.
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