14th Annual Congress on Controversies in Ophthalmology

(COPHy) taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, March 24-25, 2023

Get more info

Lawrence Hoffheimer, Chairman of the Board for the Macular Degeneration Association is proud to announce:

Macular Degeneration Association’s new virtual and in-person seminars. If you know someone who would like more information on macular degeneration, please encourage them to participate.

MDA MATTERS OF VISION! 2022 Virtual and In-person Patient Seminar Series

Virtual Programs

June 22: AMD a Patient’s Perspective-Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO Virtual Program

July 20: Why Are My Eyes Dry- Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO Virtual Program

August 10: Conversation with a Retina Specialists: Perspectives on AMD with Dr. Cooper – Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO Virtual Program

September 7: Eyecare Open Forum: Discussion on glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes, AMD – Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO Virtual Program

October 26: Diabetes and Diabetic Eye Disease- Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO

Live In-person Programs

June 25: Ruth Eckerd Hall, FL-Dana Deupree, MD

July 23: Ft. Lauderdale, FL-Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO

July 23: Boca Raton, FL-Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO

August 20: The Villages-The Waterfront Inn-Richard Hamilton, MD

August 27: Jacksonville, FL- Marriott Jacksonville -Mansoor Mughal, MD

September 10: Sarasota, FL, -Parkinson Place- Joshua Mali, MD

September 17: Ocala, FL, – World Equestrian Center-Christina Kay, MD

October 8: Ft. Meyers, FL- Crowne Plaza-Joshua Mali, MD

October 22: TBD

November 5: Lakeland, FL- Terrace Hotel Lakeland, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Richard Hamilton, MD

November 12: TBD

December 3: Grand Living-Lake Wood Ranch, FL -Joshua Mali, MD

December 10: TBD

Please go to https://MacularHope.org/Webinar-Programs/ to register or call (855) 962-2852

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/ Thank you for your support.

Thanks to Foresee Home for being their continued sponsorship of these programs.

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

Special thanks to Regeneron, Apellis and Novartis for supporting these virtual and live programs.


We’ve all been told that AMD risk is mostly genetic. Geneticists say that around 70% of individual risk for the development of AMD is determined by the genes we inherit from our ancestors, especially our parents. However, we also know that activation of genes linked to macular degeneration depends, in part, on our environment and includes things like smoking cigarettes, high fat diet and lack of plant foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin, that are vitally important for good macular health (think kale, collard greens, spinach, egg yolks and paprika peppers).

In addition, it appears that the amount of sugar in our diets, specifically higher consumption of foods and meals with a high glycemic index (GI), also increases our AMD risk. GI refers to how much and how quickly any given food or meal raises our blood sugar levels. In general, “white” foods like potatoes, corn, rice, white bread and highly-processed sugar-laden snacks (cookies, doughnuts, soda, fruit juices) have a high GI, whereas foods containing more fiber and less sugar like vegetables, some fruits, nuts and whole grains have a much lower GI.

When lab mice are fed a high GI diet, they develop changes in their macula’s that look identical to those we see in early, non-exudative (‘dry’) AMD. When those same mice are switched to a low GI diet, those same abnormalities largely disappear. The gut bacteria found in these mice also change, very rapidly (within a week) when going from a low to a high GI diet, and then back again to a low GI diet. To put an even finer (grosser) point on it, when fecal material from the high GI diet mice is transferred to normal mice, the latter also develop AMD abnormalities!

This suggests a connection between dietary GI and out gut bacteria (also known as the intestinal microbiome) that affects the appearance of AMD changes. But does this same phenomenon occur in humans? Interestingly, analysis of patient outcomes from the original AREDS trial shows that patients who ate a lower glycemic index diet during the study where much less likely to develop advanced AMD (severe dry or ‘wet’ AMD) than were study participants who ate a high GI diet.

In fact, it was estimated that 1 in 5 advanced cases of AMD in the US would be prevented if people ate and maintained a lower GI diet! The benefit was nearly the same as taking the AREDS2 supplement. Other than not smoking or discontinuing smoking, eating a low sugar, low GI diet may be the best thing we can do to prevent vision loss from AMD, especially when partnered with eating our dark green leafy vegetables and/or supplementing with AMD-specific vitamin & mineral products.

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 Optometry (London, Ontario)

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

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

Eye Care Plus, LLP (Amarillo, TX)

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)

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)

Memorial Vision, PA (Houston, TX)

Mississippi Retina Associates (Jackson, MS)

MyEyeDr (Acworth, GA) Ophthalmic Physicians Inc. (Mentor, OH)

Ophthalmology Associates PSC (Louisville, KY)

Optimal Vision Care (Medford, OR)

Orange County Retina (Santa Ana, CA)

Pacific Eye Surgery Center (Honolulu, HI)

Palmetto Retina Center, LLC (West Columbia, SC)

Paul Vision Institute (Wilmington, NC)

Professional Eye Care Center (Niles, IL)

Rancho Mirage Eye Care + Optometry (Rancho Mirage, CA)

Retina Associates of Orange County (Laguna Hills, CA)

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

Retina Consultants of Southern Colorado, P.C. (Colorado Springs, CO)

Retinal Consultants of Texas (San Antonio, TX)

Rouse Family Eye Care (Sunrise, FL)

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

Southern Montana Optometric Center (Laurel, MT)

The Eye Associates (Bradenton, FL)

The Macula Center (Clearwater, FL)

The Retina Center of St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)

The VitreoRetinal Eye Center (Biloxi, MS)

Toronto Integrated Eye Care (Etobicoke, Ontario)

Upper Richmond Optometry (Arva, ON)

Vision Center of Lake Norman (Mooresville, NC)

*AMD Center of Excellence® is a registered trademark of MacuLogix, Inc.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic eye disease that damages the macula, a small area near the center of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. As the leading cause of adult blindness in the US, AMD is three times more common than glaucoma and affects more than 11 million Americans.

In the past, eye doctors (optometrists and ophthalmologists) were taught to look for declining eye sight, blurry vision or even blind spots as the symptoms of AMD. These are symptoms of late-stage disease and often can’t be fixed once they develop. As the disease name suggests, age is the leading risk factor for developing age-related macular degeneration.

Therefore, patients should start discussing AMD with their eye care professional starting at age 50 – or sooner if you have other risk factors like a family history of AMD or you are a current or former smoker. Additionally, we know now that a night vision complaint can be a much earlier symptom of AMD. As we age, we often notice it is more difficult to drive or see at night or even read in dim light. Rather than chalking this up to “getting older,” you should take this warning sign seriously and see your eye doctor as it is often a symptom of cataracts or AMD.

How can I be tested for AMD? Historically, eye care providers relied on a clinical examination to look for tiny cholesterol deposits called drusen. Some may also use genetic testing and macular pigment testing to determine if you are at increased risk for disease. More recently, many doctors have begun checking retinal function by testing your ability to adjust from bright light to darkness using a device called the AdaptDx Pro dark adaptometer.

This test is now available in a patient-friendly, head-mounted device and has a built-in technician named Theia, who is very similar to familiar artificial intelligence helpers like Siri and Alexa. Studies have shown that this test can identify AMD three years earlier than a clinical exam and help monitor disease progression.

What can I do if I am diagnosed with AMD? The earlier you are diagnosed with AMD, the better! Once AMD is detected, it is important to focus on the risk factors that are within your control. If you smoke, STOP! Partner with your primary care physician to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health. Start eating a Mediterranean-style diet with healthy fats and leafy green vegetables. Also, speak with your eye care provider about nutritional supplementation that may include a combination of antioxidants, carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Visit www.maculogix.com/for-patients/ for additional information on AMD and to find a doctor who uses an AdaptDx dark adaptometer to test for early signs of AMD

NUTRIENTS TO HELP YOUR EYESIGHT By: You Loong Yeong, OD Clinical Optometrist | Writer at Medium Penang, Malaysia

Often, I get questions from my patients asking what food can they take to improve their eye health. As the saying goes by, we are what we eat. Maintaining a healthy diet helps to reduce the risk of getting eye diseases.

Many systemic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes are related to eye diseases such as central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and diabetic retinopathy. But, what type of food is good for our eyes? Maintaining a diet rich in the following is essential for our eye health. – Omega-3 – Lutein and zeaxanthin – Vitamin A – Antioxidants

A healthy diet is essential for eye health. A good diet can help prevent serious eye diseases and ensure your eyes are in tip-top condition.

About Dr. You Loong Yeong: He is a clinical optometrist with a passion for writing and educating the public about the importance of eye care. I wrote eye care articles for one of the successful optometry centers in Malaysia and on Medium.com. Besides checking eyes and writing articles, I am a self-learn graphic designer and video editor. I had been involved with the Association of Malaysian Optometrists (AMO) in creating content for their members. I am also a fast learner and always looking to learn new things to improve myself. I am interested in technology and always keep myself updated with the latest innovation. My colleagues would describe me as a driven, resourceful individual who maintains a positive, proactive attitude when faced with adversity.

Permission given by Dr. Yeong to use this information

VUITY EYE DROPS By: Jeffry Gerson, OD

With direct-to-consumer marketing of medical products becoming so common, it is often hard to know if something you see a commercial for might be right for you. For example, who wouldn’t want an eyedrop that they could use to improve their vision? This may be your interpretation of the commercials now on television for Vuity (from AbbVie).

Believe it or not, there are literally tens of millions of Americans that have never had an eye exam and are wearing over the counter reading glasses to help their reading vision (and since they haven’t had an eye exam, they wouldn’t know if they have macular degeneration or some other eye disease). Vuity (1.25% pilocarpine) is a relatively newly FDA approved drop for the treatment of presbyopia in adults.

Presbyopia is the condition that we are all bound to face at some point when we get old enough to where our eyes just don’t focus as well up close as they used to or we need them to. This is what causes us to need bifocals. The drop is approved to be used daily in both eyes. In the clinical trial, which was done on people 40-55 years old, the vast majority (approximately 90%) could read regular sized print in normal/good lighting conditions.

The most common side effect was headache, but it was mild in most people and very few people discontinued the drop due to headaches. Patients ask me all the time “Will this work for me?”. The answer is similar to that of many other treatments in that it depends on expectations and qualifications.

What I mean by that is that if you expect your eyes to suddenly work as well as they did when you were 30, then your expectations are not in line with the potential benefits of this drop. What I mean by qualifications is that if you have decreased vision due to AMD, this will not help you overcome the AMD related visual abnormalities.

If you are in your 80’s, it is unlikely that this will be tremendously beneficial for you. The older you are, the less likely it is that Vuity will be of much benefit for you. That being said, there is very little downside. Since this is not covered by insurance, there will be out of pocket cost. A bottle should cost approximately $80 and last a month if used daily.

Also important, even though this is a very safe medication, it is important to have had a recent dilated comprehensive eye exam before getting a prescription for this drop to make sure you don’t have any contraindications to its use. Having macular degeneration is not a reason for this to not work, but people with macular degeneration are likely older than the intended audience for this medication.

What about my kids? By: Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO, Medical Director- Optometry- Macular Degeneration Association (MDA)

This is a question I often get asked by my patients that have age related macular degeneration. I interpret this to mean one of two things on my patients’ mind, and hopefully this post will help you answer these same questions thought.

The obvious thing being asked is whether by having this condition, will their children also have it. Unfortunately, the answer to this is not so simple. We know that approximately 70% of who develops AMD is genetic. This means that genetics is a strong predictor/risk factor, but is not everything. For instance, somebody can have a strong family history of AMD and not develop it, while others may not know if any family history and still develop it.

Genetics is a risk factor that is not modifiable (at least with today’s medical technology). However, there are numerous risk factors that we can modify. For instance, those with a higher genetic predisposition that are also smokers, have about 34x the risk of developing wet AMD…and smoking is modifiable! Other factors are diet, exercise, weight status and control of systemic conditions like blood pressure. So simply put, the healthier a person is, they can help reduce risk even in the face of unfavorable genetics. The other question that is an underlying one when people ask this is really “What do I tell my kids”. This one to me is simpler, and it is a two-part answer. First of all, tell your family about your condition so that they are aware in order to help advocate for you and also to advocate for themselves.

By advocating for themselves, they should realize it is never too early to make sure they are receiving routine eyecare. Comprehensive routine eye care can help identify AMD, or any other eye condition for that matter, earlier than waiting for symptoms.

Further, when somebody tells their eye doctor about a family history of AMD, it will likely prompt a discussion of potential preemptive actions to take. So, what about your kids? Although they may be at greater risk due to their genetics, they can also use knowledge to make sure to receive routine and timely care and advice




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.


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