The mission of Macular Degeneration Association (MDA) is to find a cure for macular degeneration through disseminating research information, while providing education that will improve the quality of life TODAY, TOMORROW and in the FUTURE for patients, family members and their caregivers.
- The Macular Degeneration Association funds research and educational programs. Our programs feature renowned expert speakers in the field of macular degeneration, offering FREE programs to the patients and their caregivers locally and nationally.
- Promotes awareness of all visual diseases by means of local and national outreach
- Publishes scientific research findings
- Advocates for scientific research and the rights of people with visual impairments
- Provides educational videos on our website for those that are homebound
- Provides a quarterly newsletter with the latest treatments, findings, information and helpful tips
- Maintains a robust website
Andrea is from the Dayton, Ohio area and has lived in Bradenton for the past 15 years. Along with her smiling face, she brings over 10 years of office administration knowledge to the Macular Degeneration Association. In early 2019, she was invited to join the association in a full-time capacity. She is responsible for the AMD Centers of Excellence program by working directly with the Executive Director and Medical Directors. Andrea communicates with practices and patients inquiring about the AMD Centers of Excellence and maintains the Centers of Excellence database located on our website.
Andrea served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and possesses a sense of teamwork and superb communication skills which she gained while serving in several overseas missions.
Lynne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She brings over twenty years of financial and business management experience to the foundation.
As Administrative Director, Lynne oversees the Parkinson Research Foundation Major Donor Program. She manages the daily business operations for both the foundation and Parkinson Place.
Lynne’s enthusiasm and strong interpersonal skills contribute to Parkinson Place’s overall mission to play a positive role in the lives of Parkinson patients, caregivers and the community at large.
Originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area, Dustin has resided in Sarasota for the past thirty years. With over ten years of experience in technical management, he joined the Macular Degeneration Association in 2014.
Dustin oversees all technical services to include maintaining the MacularHope.org website. He is responsible for final design of marketing and collateral materials and offers audio-visual tech support for daily programs and special events.
Dustin provides a special touch for the Macular patients by making himself available to those requiring special help and assistance. He is a valued member of the team.
Ms. Auger brings 32 years of knowledge and experience in the optometric and opticianry field. In 1991, she became a licensed optician, holding certifications from the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners.
She began working for a Retina Specialist in 1997, gaining experience and extensive knowledge of various eye diseases; including but not limited to age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease. After 10 years in the field of retina disease, Ms. Auger followed her passion and love for educating patients and their caregivers about these diseases.
As the Executive Director, Ms. Auger is responsible for developing educational programs and materials. She also maintains social media, writes all grants, compiles the website content, contributes to the quarterly newsletter and is a liaison to doctors within the optometric field.
She said, “Macular degeneration can create multiple challenges to the patient as well as their caregiver but with proper education, adequate support, a better understanding of the disease and available treatment options; the patient will possess the tools to make informed decisions for their specific visual diagnosis”.
Chairman and Founder
Chairman and Founder
Larry Hoffheimer is founder and chairman of the Macular Degeneration Association, though his career did not begin in the not-for-profit sector. Upon graduating law school, Larry joined the United State Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor, serving attorneys general for eight years. After leaving DOJ, he launched a career as a Washington, D.C. healthcare attorney, playing key roles in healthcare legislation.
In 1999 Larry’s mother began to lose her vision due to Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and eventually became legally blind. Larry accompanied his mother to optometrists and ophthalmologists, all of whom offered no hope of regaining sight, thus preventing her from reading and watching television.
When many of his contemporaries were contemplating retirement, Larry set his sights on a third act, driven by his mother’s battle with AMD. In 2007, he formed a not-for-profit foundation to educate, empower and share hope with AMD patients who make up the largest group of legally blind persons in the western world.
Larry is also a living example that genetics plays a role in AMD. Early in 2018 Larry noticed a change in his vision, and because of his familiarity with the early onset of wet AMD, he immediately arranged an appointment with a retina specialist who administered the first of many eye injections of a drug that prevents the progression of the disease. At that time Larry also learned his sister suffered from wet AMD in both eyes.
As Chairman, Larry oversees the activities and direction of the Macular Degeneration Association. Indeed, Larry is the vision behind the tireless and nationwide efforts of the association.
Joshua Mali, MD
Medical Director – Retina SpecialistsLawrence Hoffheimer Bio
Joshua Mali, MD
Medical Director – Retina Specialists
Dr. Mali graduated Summa Cum Laude in Biology from West Virginia University (WVU) where he received the prestigious WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior Award. He then continued at WVU School of Medicine for his medical degree and internship in which he was awarded the WV Medical Scholarship Award. Upon deciding to specialize in ophthalmology, he proceeded to Albany Medical College for his residency and was elected Chief Resident by his peers and faculty. He completed his medical and surgical Vitreo-Retinal fellowship training at Retina Consultants/Albany Medical College while serving as Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology.
Currently, Dr. Mali is a board-certified ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon at The Eye Associates, a multi-specialty ophthalmology private practice in Sarasota, Florida. In addition, Dr. Mali is the Founder & CEO of Mali Enterprises which is currently selling his award-winning invention: The Mali Eyeglass Holder (www.malienterprises.org). This innovative product is used to safely and securely hold a patient’s eyeglasses during the slit lamp microscope examination. This versatile product can attach to most tables in healthcare examination rooms, procedure rooms and tables or nightstands at your home.
Currently, Dr. Mali is a principal investigator for many clinical trials including new treatments for wet macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and uveitis. Dr. Mali was named 2020 America’s Top Ophthalmologist. He was also honored with the 2018 Outstanding Alumnus for the West Virginia University Department of Biology for being a leader in his field and his success as an accomplished retinal surgeon and innovator. Additionally, he was awarded the 2019 West Virginia University Homecoming Parade Marshal in honor of his Mountaineer spirit and service to his community.
Dr. Mali has given his time by contributing his medical expertise to worthy organizations such as Baha’i inspired Health for Humanity.
Dr. Mali has dedicated his career to providing the most advanced retinal surgical techniques and technology in the world and offering the highest quality eye care for the Florida community.
Jeffry D. Gerson, OD, FAAO
Medical Director – OptometristsLawrence Hoffheimer Bio
Jeffry D. Gerson, OD, FAAO
Medical Director – Optometrists
Dr. Jeffry Gerson graduated from Indiana University School of Optometry in 1997, after which he went on to do a VA residency concentrating in low vision and ocular disease. He has been in several different practice settings, including a retina referral practice where he participated in several large clinical trials.
Currently, Dr Gerson is in private practice that is a collaboration of both ODs and MDs. He sees primary care patients and has an emphasis on retinal care in his practice. He enjoys having 4th year optometry interns with him and the challenges that they present. He still participates in clinical trials and utilizes many different diagnostic modalities.
Dr. Gerson is a frequent lecturer in the US and abroad, and writes regularly for optometric publications. When not at work, he enjoys travelling, working out and spending time with his family.
Mile Brujic, OD, FAAOMile Brujic, OD, FAAO Bio
Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO
Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO is a 2002 graduate of the New England College of Optometry. He is a partner of Premier Vision Group, a successful four location optometric practice in Northwest Ohio. He practices full scope optometry with an emphasis on ocular disease management of the anterior segment and specialty contact lenses. He is active at all levels of organized optometry. Dr. Brujic is on the editorial board for a number of optometric publications. He has published over 400 articles and has given over 1800 lectures, both nationally and internationally on contemporary topics in eye care.
Paul Chous, MA, OD, FAAO, CDAPaul Chous, MA, OD, FAAO, CDA Bio
Paul Chous, MA, OD, FAAO, CDA
Dr. Paul Chous is an optometrist with a private practice specializing in diabetes eye care and education in Tacoma, WA. He attended Brown, UC Irvine and UC Berkeley. Dr. Chous writes and lectures on diabetes, nutrition and AMD in the US and internationally, and is thrilled to be on the MDA advisory board.
Jeremiah Brown, Jr., MS, MDJeremiah Brown, Jr., MS, MD Bio
Jeremiah Brown, Jr., MS, MD
Dr. Jeremiah Brown, Jr. is a board-certified ophthalmologist with more than 10 years of practice experience as a Vitreoretinal Surgeon. He founded the Brown Retina Institute in 2010 to establish a medical practice devoted to diagnosing, treating and researching diseases of the retina and vitreous as well as uveitis.
Dr. Brown also holds an academic appointment as Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.The Brown Retina Institute is located in two locations – Schertz and San Antonio, Texas.
Joshua Greene, MDJoshua Greene, MD Bio
Joshua Greene, MD
Dr. Greene is Board-Certified: American Board of Ophthalmology. He is aFellow with the AmericanAcademy of Ophthalmology. He did his fellowship in surgical retina at Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN. He did his residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and internship at Albert Einstein Medical Center.He belongs to several professional organizations and has conducted over 100 teaching and speaking engagements. He practices at the Philadelphia Retina Associates in Philadelphia, PA.
Pamela A. Lowe, OD, FAAO, Dipl. ABOPamela A. Lowe, OD, FAAO, Dipl. ABO Bio
Pamela A. Lowe, OD, FAAO, Dipl. ABO
Dr. Lowe is currently Director/President of Professional Eye Care Center, Incorporated, a private practice she founded in 1992 on Chicago’s Northwest Side. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Loyola University of Chicago in 1984 and graduated with honors from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1988. The college named her the Alumnus of the Year in 2002.
Dr. Lowe is active in organized optometry and is a Past President of the Illinois Optometric Association. Dr. Lowe was awarded Illinois’s Young Optometrist of the Year in 1995 and Optometrist of the Year in 2006. She has been a career long member of the American Optometric Association and currently serves as Chair of the AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section and is a Key-person for AOA Advocacy; she is a Fellow with the American Academy of Optometry and a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. She serves as Vision Source Medical Director in Chicagoland where she is an administrator for over seventy independent private practice locations.
Dr. Lowe has lectured and authored on many topics including retinal disease, cataract extraction, laser vision correction and currently travels throughout the country speaking on new technologies for early detection of macular degeneration, dry eye disease strategies and myopia management. She has had the distinction of serving as a Clinical Examiner for the National Board of Optometry, Past Chair for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation State Board for Optometry and Past-President of the Illinois College of Optometry Alumni Council.
When Dr. Lowe is not seeing patients, she is active in her community as a member of two chambers of commerce and involved in ministries at her parish. She enjoys cooking, fitness, skiing, volleyball and is a food and wine enthusiast who loves family adventures with her husband and two sons.
Rajiv Rathod, MDRajiv Rathod, MD Bio
Rajiv Rathod, MD
Dr. Raj Rathod is a native of Orange County, having grown up in the Anaheim Hills area. He completed his undergraduate education at Stanford University, received a B.S. in Biology. He returned to California for a year, completing an internship at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. His residency was completed at Washington University in St. Louis/Barnes Jewish Medical Center, where he received several awards for teaching and patient care. Following residency, Dr. Rathod served as the Chief Resident at Washington University.
Dr. Rathod practices at Orange County Retina in CA.
Leo Semes, OD, FAAOLeo Semes, OD, FAAO Bio
Leo Semes, OD, FAAO
Leo P. Semes, OD, earned his OD from PCO and completed residency at The Eye Institute of PCO. He currently holds an appointment as Professor Emeritus of Optometry and Vision Science at UAB.
Dr. Semes has authored numerous articles, book chapters and posters. He is a fellow of the AAO. Dr. Semes is a founding member of the Optometric Glaucoma Society, where he has served as Secretary and on the Executive Committee and a founding fellow of the Optometric Retina Society. In 2015 he received the Educator of the Year award from the Alabama Optometric Association. He has also been recognized with the Dean’s Distinguished Service award (2016). Dr. Semes has authored and contributed to the AAO’s Clinical Practice Guidelines and was recognized as among the 50 most influential in Eye Care in 2015.
Pamela Weber, MDPamela Weber, MD Bio
Pamela Weber, MD
A graduate of McGill University, Montreal, and Pamela Ann Weber, M.D. went on to Columbia University College of Physicians &Surgeons. Dr. Weber completed her Post-Doctoral training as a Resident in Ophthalmology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, NY. She completed her Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Disease & Surgery at Schepens Eye Institute, Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Harvard University in Boston. Dr. Weber is a member of the National Register’s Who’s Who, a Castle Conelly Top Doctor and a Newsday Top Doctor. Dr. Pamela Weber is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. She is also a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the American Association of Retinal Specialists. Dr. Weber’s practice is called Island Retina, located in Commack & Shirley, NY.
The Macular Degeneration Association is a nonprofit health organization providing the latest research information and advocacy for patients with macular degeneration. MDA is an IRS recognized 501(c) (3) organization and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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Macular degeneration is caused when part of the retina deteriorates. The retina is the interior layer of the eye. The macula is the central portion of the retina and is responsible for detailed vision and central vision.