Macular Degeneration UPDATE Fall 2021


A newsletter devoted to the most current medical, social and psychological aspects of all visual diseases

Lawrence Hoffheimer, Chairman of the Board for the

Macular Degeneration Association is proud to announce:


Virtual Patient Seminar Series

You are invited to attend these virtual seminars. If you know someone who would like more information on macular degeneration please encourage them to participate.


October 13th – “Eye Disease Caused by Diabetes”

A. Paul Chous, MA, OD, FAAO, CDE–Program begins @ 4:00 pm EST and lasts 1 ½ hour with Q & A.

Learn how to diabetes can affect your vision. Learn about the effects of elevated blood sugars and what you can do to save your vision.


October 20th – “Ask the Experts! ”

Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO & Joshua Mali, MD- Macular Degeneration Association Medical Directors –Program begins @ 12:00 pm EST and lasts 1 ½ hours with Q & A.

This is an open forum designed for you to ask our Medical Directors any questions. The discussion will start with research, new treatments, eye injections, and vision loss.


October 27th – “Basics of Macular Degeneration: Dry vs Wet”

Jeremiah Brown, MS, MD–Program begins @ 1:00 pm EST and lasts 1 ½ hrs. with sponsor & Q & A.

The discussion will start with the basics of macular degeneration. Learn the difference between wet & dry macular degeneration. Hear about new treatments options and research.


November 3rd– “The Patient Experience with AMD”

Rajiv Rathod, MBA, MD–Program begins @ 6:00 pm EST and lasts 1 ½ hours with sponsor & Q & A.

Learn about how patients are coping with wet AMD. Are they experiencing limitations, vision loss, or an ability to care for themselves? How are they managing their eye injections? Watch a live injection.


November 10th – “Eye Conditions: Blepharitis, Uveitis, Pink Eye or Allergies? ”

Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO-Program begins @ 4:00 pm EST and lasts 1 ½ hours with sponsor & Q & A.

My eyes are red could it be pink eye, blepharitis, or uveitis ? Learn the difference between these eye conditions and what you can do to protect your eyes. Can macular degeneration cause these eye conditions?


November 17th- “Eye Emergencies”

Yasmine Mali, MD–Program begins @ 12:00 pm EST and lasts 1 1/2 hrs. with sponsor & Q & A.

What is classified as an eye emergency? Should I go to the emergency room? Can it be treated at home? Should I call my doctor?


December 1st  – “Neovascular AMD: I have Options. Help!”

Pamela Weber, MD–Programs begins @ 12:00 pm EST and lasts 1 1/2  hrs. with sponsor & Q & A.

Learn about the treatments options that are currently available. Hear about the new treatments that will be available. What are the best treatments options for you?


December 8th – “Macular Degeneration & The Implantable Minature Telescope (IMT)”

Mark H. Levy, MD –Program begins @ 12:00 pm EST and lasts 1 1/2  hrs. with sponsor & Q & A.

Learn about the implantable telescope. Can this device help me regain my vision? Will be able to see normally again? What are the requirements for the implantable telescope?


Please go to https://MacularHope.org/Webinar-Programs/ to register

We are also proud to announce the addition of our blog and educational videos.

Blog – https://MacularHope.org/Blog/ Educational Videos – https://MacularHope.org/Videos/


Special thanks to Foresee Home for being the sponsor of these programs. To find out more

about the Foresee Home AMD Monitoring Program please go to: https://www.foreseehome.com.

Thank you to Regeneron and Novartis for their support of these virtual programs.

Thank you for your support.


Matters of Vision! Virtual Patient Seminars. Page 1

3 Companies with New Treatments

to keep your eye on . Page 2

Not all Vitamins Are Created Equal. Page 3

The Complex Story of Brolucizumab . Page 4

In The News. Page 4

Macular Degeneration Association

AMD Centers of Excellence . Page 5

Nutrition and AMD. Page 6

AREDS Vitamins Sometimes Harm Vision . Page 7

Preserve & Protect Your Vision–Donate Today. . . . Page 8




By Dr. Joshua Mali


While COVID-19 did impact the vast majority of

our society, surprisingly, clinical research in

ophthalmology did not stop. In fact, it continues

to grow at a record pace with incredible amounts of

data to analyze and interpret for clinical application in


With that as a backdrop, we have never seen such

innovation in treating retinal diseases (in addition to

devastating diseases like COVID-19) until now.

Three potentially impactful players to keep your eye

on are Sorrento Therapeutics (company symbol SRNE),

Applied Genetic Technologies Corp (company symbol

AGTC), Nanoviricides (company symbol NNVC).

1) Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE)

It is obvious that COVID-19 will likely continue to be

the dominant story for the foreseeable future. This virus

has impacted every part of our society.

However, I strongly believe in humanity’s ability

to defeat this challenge through our unity in spirit and

incredible ingenuity in innovation. It has been amazing

to see the speed, efficiency, and potency of the worldwide

efforts in clinical research and the pharmaceutical industry

to fight and crush this virus. It is really an industry-wide

team effort, with companies both big and small joining the

battle. Small biotech company — Sorrento Therapeutics —

has rapidly developed a tremendous pipeline of promising

COVID-19 antibody treatments, vaccine candidates, and

diagnostic tests that could hold the key to next generational

management and a potential cure for this disease. I

strongly believe that SRNE holds the key to treating future

COVID-19 variants (such as Delta, etc.) and will be the big

name to know for treating COVID-19.

2) Applied Genetic Technologies Corp (AGTC)

The idea of new promising treatments in gene therapy

and the importance of genetic testing in inherited retinal

diseases is becoming more commonplace. Recently, AGTC

reported positive responses for their treatment for a

condition called Achromatopsia. In addition to these very

positive and encouraging results for Achromatopsia, their

candidate for X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa (XLRP) looks

extremely effective as well from current trial data and could

be the first approved treatment for this particular genetic

disease in the near future. AGTC is definitely a company

to watch and is showing that it is a leader in the field of

ophthalmic gene therapy.

3) Nanoviricides (NNVC)

NNVC is a nano-biopharmaceutical company that

discovers, develops, and commercializes drugs for the

treatment of viral infections for both the eye and COVID-19.

This company has tremendous potential to address both

COVID-19 with its potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate

which is currently being studied in clinical trials, in addition

to, developing eye drops for the treatment of shingles

(which affects an incredible amount of people in the USA).

I would definitely recommend keeping this company on

your radar as it continues its progress to viable treatments.

Joshua Mali, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist

and award-winning vitreoretinal surgeon at The Eye

Associates, a private multi-specialty ophthalmology

practice in Sarasota, Florida. He is the Retina Medical

Director of the Macular Degeneration Association (MDA).

He is also the Founder & CEO of Mali Enterprises (www.




By: Jeffrey Gerson, OD, FAAO


Most Americans take some sort of vitamin, and

many take an eye-specific vitamin. That being

said, you probably are among the millions that

take some sort of supplement. Ask yourself, how you

came to be taking the vitamin that you are taking?

Was it the cheapest? Was it the prettiest? Or was it

specifically recommended by your eyecare provider. I

should note, by the way, that the best way to get proper

nutrition is through a healthy diet, but the vast majority

of Americans do not have an appropriately healthy diet

to prevent or combat diseases like macular degeneration,

hence the discussion on vitamins/supplements.

As it turns out the vitamin/supplement industry

is not very regulated. Vitamins are not like the

prescription drugs that you take that are highly regulated

and overseen. Instead, it is up to each individual

manufacturer to police themselves.

If the answer to which eye-specific (or macula

specific) vitamin you are taking was not that it was

recommended by your eyecare provider, it may be time

to rethink. Most of the time, eyecare providers are

happy to tell you about products and companies that

they trust. This is likely from research that they have

done or information they have from companies they

have worked with in some capacity.

There are a couple of things that I want to

specifically point out. The first of which is the quality

of the supplement you are taking and whether it is “true

to the label”. What I mean by that is whether what is in

the bottle matches the label, as this is often not the case.

The second point is what are the ingredients? There are

some things that it is hard to argue against any of us

taking and there are some ingredients that may be highpriced

but may do little to no good.

The third question is whether you need a vitamin.


The argument could be made that anybody

could benefit from an appropriate supplement

recommendation, whether it be multivitamin, eyespecific

or macula-specific. People with macular

degeneration in particular can benefit from supplements.

There is nothing that points to any negative effects of

carotenoids (specifically lutein and zeaxanthin). These

can potentially prevent AMD, its progression, or maybe

even improve quality of vision. We also know from large

clinical trials that patients with intermediate AMD tend

to benefit from a very specific supplement formulation

known as AREDS2, which is readily available!

In order to know what you may benefit from; you

can rely on one of 2 things. The first may be research

that you do to create an informed opinion and decision.

The other way to know what to do is to ask your ECP!

They should be able to guide you down a path through

general medical knowledge and awareness of your

particular situation.

About: Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO- Dr. Gerson

is the Medical Director-Optometry for the Macular

Degeneration Association. He practices at Grin Eye Care

Olathe, KS.

Dr. Gerson has authored several articles in journals

such as “Review of Optometry” and “Optometric

Management”, and continues to do so. He also lectures

frequently on the topics of retinal disease and systemic

disease both here in the US and abroad. He is on

numerous advisory boards which often times allows

him early access to technology. He is a member of

the American Optometric Association as well as the

Kansas optometric association which named him their

2008 Young OD of the Year. He is a fellow of both the

Academy of Optometry and Optometric Retina Society.



The Complex Story of Brolucizumab

by Pamela Weber M.D.


You may know Brolucizumab better by its trade name

Beovu. This is the most-recently FDA- approved drug

for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular

degeneration (wet AMD). The FDA approval occurred in

November of 2019.

Retina specialists were very excited over the launch, as

the phase 3 results looked very promising. The two world

studies, called HAWK and HARRIER, that led to the FDA

approval, showed that more than 50% of patients could

eventually receive dosing every 3 months and still maintain

good vision. It seemed better than Eylea, in that patients

could go longer between treatments, and there was better

drying of the active disease.

By early 2020, however, many doctors were

observing inflammation in eyes treated with Beovu. This

inflammation was called intraocular inflammation, or IOI.

This represented an allergy to the medication. In most

cases, the patients recovered well with just eye drops, but a

small percentage (<2%) lost vision. IOI usually shows up

quickly, after receiving one or two injections of the drug.

The longer you have been on the drug, the less likely it is

that you will have this problem. The first symptom of an

IOI is seeing tiny floaters. As it progresses, the patient will

notice a drop in vision or increased blurriness.

The trick to successfully treating it is to catch it

early, then stop the drug and start treatment. Many retinal

specialists stopped using (or never started) treating patients

with Beovu, although most patients did incredibly well with

the drug. As time has passed, we have learned more about

this and now have specific recommendations as to who

should receive the drug.

You may want to consider this treatment if you fall into

any of these situations:

  1. You’re receiving frequent treatment with another drug

and never have the disease totally dry or controlled;

  1. You find it hard to get to your appointments to keep

up with your injections;

  1. You do not suffer from autoimmune diseases, such as

rheumatoid arthritis; or

  1. You do not have known drug allergies.

In my office, we have had success with this drug,

and many patients are finally getting their disease under

control. Almost all my patients on Beovu are reducing the

number of injections they receive annually, and some have

doubled their maintenance interval as compared to the use

of another drug.




Please check out the Virtual

Patient Seminar Series –

Matters of Vision 2021!

While visiting the blog you are able to ask questions

to Dr. Joshua Mali and a response by him

will be given.


We are pleased to announce the retina and optometric practices awarded the distinction of

AMD Centers of Excellence!


Allisonville Eye Care (Fishers, IN)

Brown Retina Institute (San Antonio, TX)

Carolina Eye Associates, P.A. (North & South Carolina)

Central Massachusetts Retina & Uveitis Center

(Ayer, MA)

Central Optometry (London, Ontario)

Charles Retina Institute (Germantown, TN)

Clear View Vision Care (Tucson, AZ)

Contact Lens & Vision (Woodbridge, NJ)

Dr. Dorothy L. Hitchmoth, PLLC (New London, NH)

Eye Associates of Boca Raton, P.A. (Boca Raton, FL)

Eye Care Plus, LLP (Amarillo, TX)

Eye Health Consultants (The Woodlands, TX)

Eye Luv Lucy Optometry (San Jose, CA)

Eyes on Sheppard (North York, Ontario)

Grin Eye Care (Leawood, KS)

Integrative Vision (Shrewbury, NJ)

Island Retina (Shirley, NY)

Joseph R. Podhorzer, MD, PLLC (Brooklyn, NY)

Kehoe Eye Care, PC (Galesburg, IL)

Krug Optometry (Hays, KS)

Laguna Eyes Optometry (Laguna Beach, CA)

Lipski Eye Center, PC (Lewisburg, PA)

Low Vision Doctors of Ohio (Columbus, OH)

Low Vision Optometry of Southern California

(Mission Viejo, CA)

Low Vision Specialists of Maryland & Virginia

(Timonium, MD)

Marshall EyeCare Physicians, PC (Holmdel, NJ)

Medina Vision Centre, Inc. (Medina, OH)

Memorial Vision, PA (Houston, TX)

Mid Florida Eye Center (Mt. Dora, FL)

Mississippi Retina Associates (Jackson, MS)

Ophthalmic Physicians Inc. (Mentor, OH)

Ophthalmology Associates PSC (Louisville, KY)

Orange County Retina (Santa Ana, CA)

Pacific Eye Surgery Center (Honolulu, HI)

Palmetto Retina Center, LLC (West Columbia, SC)

Paul Vision Institute (Wilmington, NC)

Precision Vision Edmond (Edmond, OK)

Premier Eye Care of Eastern Idaho (Idaho Falls, ID)

Professional Eye Care Center (Niles, IL)

Rancho Mirage Eye Care + Optometry (Rancho

Mirage, CA)

Retina & Vitreous Consultants of Virginia, P.C.

(Winchester, VA)

Retina Associates of Orange County (Laguna Hills, CA)

Retina Associates of Utah, P.C. (Salt Lake City, UT)

Retina Associates of Western NY, P.C. (Rochester, NY)

Retina Consultants of Southern Colorado, P.C.

(Colorado Springs, CO)

Retina Macula Specialists of Miami (N. Miami

Beach, FL)

Retina Specialists of Ohio (Mayfield Village, OH)

Retinal Consultants of San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)

Rouse Family Eye Care (Sunrise, FL)

Sight Improvement Center, Inc. (New York, NY)

Southern Montana Optometric Center (Laurel, MT)

Stanley J. Hallock, OD (Orlando, FL)

The Eye Associates (Bradenton, FL)

The Macula Center (Clearwater, FL)

The Retina Center (St. Louis, MO)

The VitreoRetinal Eye Center (Biloxi, MS)

Thomas Eye Group (Atlanta, GA)

Toronto Integrated Eye Care (Etobicoke, Ontario)

True Vision Eyecare (Acworth, GA)

Upper Richmond Optometry (Arva, ON)

Valley Eye Clinic (Luray, VA)

Vision Center of Lake Norman (Mooresville, NC)

Vision Health (Turnwater, WA)

Wiles Eye Center (Kansas City, MO)

Woolf Eye Care Center (Gilbert, AZ)


Please, put it on your calendar



Nutrition and AMD

by Laurie Capogna, OD


There is more to eye health than eating a handful of carrots!


Consuming a variety of foods that are

high in eye-healthy nutrients such as

kale, orange peppers and cold-water

fish is essential to the functioning of your

eyes. Furthermore, scientists have found

that the nutrients found in these Eyefoods

can also help prevent the progression of

ocular disease such as cataracts and agerelated

macular degeneration (AMD), and

even help manage the symptoms of dry

eye syndrome and eyelid disease.

The eye is one of the most highly

metabolic organs in the body, and specific

carotenoids, vitamins, minerals and

omega-3 fatty acids are found in high

concentrations in the eye and play an

important role in vision.

Furthermore, age-related macular

degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause

of vision loss in North America. It is a

disease with many risk factors including

age, family history, smoking, UV and

blue light exposure, and various diet and

lifestyle factors. Here is a list of some of

the most important things you can do to

help reduce your risk of this disease.

Eat Eyefoods:

Studies show that eating foods high

in lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids,

vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc can help

reduce the risk of AMD. Follow these

four simple tips to increase the amount of

these important nutrients in your diet.

  1. Leafy Greens: A handful a day helps

keep AMD away

Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, rapini,

dandelion greens, watercress, and collard

greens contain high amounts of lutein

and all of the other eye healthy nutrients.

Eat them everyday and enjoy them both

cooked and raw to reap their benefits.

  1. Orange Peppers: Eat 2 peppers per

week, 2 ways, raw and cooked

Of all coloured peppers, orange are

particularly good for your eye health.

They contain high amounts of both lutein

and zeaxanthin, and they also contain

more vitamin C than yellow, red or green

peppers. All peppers are good choices for

eye health, but be sure to fill your grocery

cart with more of the orange variety.

  1. Cold-water fish: Eat 3-4 servings

of fish per week.

Wild salmon, rainbow trout, sardines,

mackerel and light tuna contain high

amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and

EPA) and are low in contaminants.

  1. Omega-3 Eggs: Eat 4 eggs per week.

The yolk is good.

Egg yolks contain a form of lutein

that is absorbed very well by our bodies.

They are also a good source of vitamin E,

zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.

Dr. Laurie Capogna is a doctor

of optometry and the founder of Eye

Wellness in Niagara. She is the author of

Eyefoods: The Complete Eye Health and

Nutrition Guide.

If anyone wants to use this article, they

will need to ask for permission from

MDA to use this article. Thank you.


AREDS Vitamins Sometimes Harm Vision

by Stephen R. Kaufman, MD


Millions of Americans with macular degeneration

are taking an AREDS or AREDS2

eye vitamin such as PreserVision®,

I-Caps®, or Viteyes®. These vitamins have helped

preserve sight in many patients. However, a lot

of eye doctors don’t know about recent research

that has shown that, for about 15% of patients,

these vitamins are actually harmful.

It all depends on what macular degenerationassociated

genes they have. Many people with

certain genes benefit greatly from AREDS

vitamins. The vitamins help prevent wet macular

degeneration. However, for about 15% of patients,

taking AREDS vitamins makes it more likely that

they will develop wet macular degeneration.

Many of these patients will need treatment with

eye injections and they will often lose vision.

We owe a lot to Harvard Medical School

ophthalmologist Demetrios Vavvas, MD, whose

team showed that AREDS vitamins help some

patients but harm others. Vavvas’ research

convinced me that patients should have genetic

testing to guide AREDS vitamin use, but doing so

remained controversial among ophthalmologists.

Therefore, our team of retina specialists sought

to resolve the issue. Looking at 265 patients, we

found a strong interaction between genetics and

AREDS vitamin use in the development of wet

macular degeneration. Our findings supported

those of Vavvas and his team.

Though AREDS vitamins are helping many

macular degeneration patients, I think the data

clearly show that these same vitamins are causing

wet macular degeneration in thousands of patients

each year. I recommend that you ask your eye

doctor about genetic testing. They might find my

6-minute video helpful at…


or they can contact me at…


Stephen R. Kaufman, MD

Vitreo-Retinal Consultants, Canton, Ohio

Neither Dr. Kaufman nor his research

colleagues have any financial or other conflict

of interest.


“The views discussed in the articles are of the authors

and do not necessarily reflect the views of MDA”





Without ongoing contributions from generous donors like you, the Macular Degeneration Association would be

unable to fund Research and Education for the millions of people living with macular degeneration.




Phone, Mail or Online

Phone: Please call (941)893-4387 today to speak to one of our Donor Services Representatives.

Mail: Send your check or money order today payable to:


5969 Cattleridge Boulevard, Suite 100 | Sarasota, FL 34232

Online: Please visit www.macularhope.org today and click on the Donation tab.

Stocks, Securities, Mutual Funds and IRAs

Please give serious consideration to the donation of stock and mutual fund shares as this offers numerous opportunities

to make a most gracious gift and receive tax advantages.

Wills, Bequests and Planned Gifts

Please give serious consideration to the designation of MDA in your Will, Charitable Trusts, Life Insurance, Appreciated

Securities and Real Estate as this offers preplanned giving opportunities that will serve the macular community for

years to come. Please call Lynne Henry (941)893-4389 at the Macular Degeneration Association, today, for personal

assistance in initiating this effort.

The following language has been reviewed and is deemed a legally acceptable form for including such a bequest in a will:

“I give and bequeath to the Macular Degeneration Association, 5969 Cattleridge Blvd. Suite # 100 Sarasota, FL 34232

for discretionary use in carrying out its aims and purposes, (the sum of $_____) or ( a sum equal to _______% of

the value of my gross estate at the time of my death under this will or any codicil hereto).”

The Macular Degeneration Association Federal ID number is 27-3025707




Honor a family member, friend or special event by donating to MDA. Pay tribute to someone you love whose life

has been impacted by macular degeneration. In lieu of flowers, please consider designating Macular Degeneration

Association as your charity of choice.




Launch a Giving Campaign

Please consider leading a team at work by encouraging your colleagues and staff to join together to help those

living with macular degeneration. Launch a workplace giving campaign today.

Ask about Matching Gifts

Many gracious employers double or even triple charitable donations made by individual employees. Some companies

will match gifts made by retirees and or their spouses. Contact your employer for matching gift eligibility

as this allows you to maximize your personal donation.


Thank you!


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