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:
MDA MATTERS OF VISION! 2021
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.
IN THIS ISSUE
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
3 COMPANIES WITH NEW TREATMENTS
TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON
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.
NOT ALL VITAMINS ARE CREATED EQUAL
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
About: Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO- Dr. Gerson
is the Medical Director-Optometry for the Macular
Degeneration Association. He practices at Grin Eye Care
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:
- You’re receiving frequent treatment with another drug
and never have the disease totally dry or controlled;
- You find it hard to get to your appointments to keep
up with your injections;
- You do not suffer from autoimmune diseases, such as
rheumatoid arthritis; or
- 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.
IN THE NEWS
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
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
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
Retina & Vitreous Consultants of Virginia, P.C.
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
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
GIVING TUESDAY NOVEMBER 30, 2021
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
“The views discussed in the articles are of the authors
and do not necessarily reflect the views of MDA”
PRESERVE & PROTECT YOUR VISION DONATE TODAY
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.
HOW TO GIVE
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:
MACULAR DEGENERATION ASSOCIATION
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
MEMORIAL AND HONOR GIVING
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.