Macular Degeneration: Hope for the Future Through Research

George Humphrey
Feb. 28, 2001

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the United States, affecting 13 million Americans. It is most common in people over the age of 60, but it is also possible to develop symptoms in the 40s and 50s. The disease is particularly prevalent in the Southwest, with its large retired population.

ARMD affects light-sensitive photoreceptor cells in the macula, the center of the retina at the back of the eye where light-sensitive cells send visual signals to the brain. While it doesn't cause total blindness, the disease destroys central vision so reading, watching TV and driving are impossible. Currently, there is no cure, and treatments are very limited.

Janice M. Burke, a renowned professor of ophthalmology, will discuss cutting-edge research that could some day lead to finding the cause, treatment and cure for ARMD. She will explain what is known about ARMD, why finding the cause has been such a challenge and why research is the only hope for the future.

Sponsored by the Southwest Age-Related Macular Degeneration Research Program at the University of Arizona Department of Ophthalmology, the free lecture is open to the medical community, individuals with ARMD, their family and friends, and the public.

The Majorie & Joseph Heil Professor of Ophthalmology and professor of cell biology, neurobiology, and anatomy, at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Dr. Burke also serves on the editorial board of Experimental Eye Research.

The UA Department of Ophthalmology's Southwest Age-Related Macular Degeneration Research Program is a new initiative dedicated to pursuing the development of new surgical and non-surgical treatments of ARMD.




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