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AMDF Supported Researcher Receives Award at ARVO 2017

Back in May, some members of our team attended the ARVO 2017 conference in Baltimore, MD. ARVO is The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world, and the yearly conference is the largest gathering of those researchers and doctors.

Our mission in attending this yearly conference is to identify promising research and researchers that we might want to support, learn about what’s new in macular degeneration research and assistive technology, and raise awareness with doctors about our organization and how we can help them help their patients with information.

This year we had a bonus! We were there to see one of our supported researchers, Dr. Johanna Seddon, receive the Weisenfeld Award. Dr. Seddon of Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center was named the 2017 recipient of the Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology for her pioneering work on the interplay of nutritional, environmental and genetic risk factors in age-related macular degeneration.

Dr. Johanna Seddon ARVO 2017
From left to right: Paul Gariepy (AMDF), Chip Goehring (President of AMDF), Dr. Johanna Seddon and her husband.

Her studies of lifestyle factors have influenced clinical practice world-wide. Her discoveries of common and rare AMD genetic variants have provided targets for therapies. Her predictive modeling insights have laid the groundwork for personalized medicine. And some of you may recognize her from the Eat Right for Your Sight cookbook which was created in collaboration with Dr. Seddon.

“AMDF has provided broad support for Dr. Seddon’s research for a number of years,” said Chip Goehring, President, AMDF. “We’ve made such a strong investment in her studies because she produces findings that we, as individuals with macular degeneration, can apply to our lifestyle choices. And we are delighted that she co-authored our AMDF Cookbook – Eat Right for Your Sight. This award confirms what we already believed: she is doing life changing work.”

Dr. Seddon’s findings include:

15 different genetic variants, including some rare and highly penetrant genetic variants, which are strongly associated with AMD in families;
smoking increases risk of AMD, lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids) and dark green leafy vegetables in the diet reduce risk of AMD, omega-3 fatty acids, fish and nuts reduce risk, trans fats and abdominal obesity increase risk, and exercise reduces risk of macular degeneration; the development of comprehensive AMD risk prediction models and an on-line risk calculator.

Her current work is focused on identifying genetic associations and interactions with non-genetic risk factors and sub-phenotypes of the disease.

Congratulations Dr. Seddon!

Founder of Tip-n-Split, Connie Inukai

How inventing a product to help restaurant goers with aging eyesight led her to discovering Age-Related Macular Degeneration and inspired her to give back.

“I didn’t know about Macular Degeneration until I invented this product.”

Connie Inukai Founder Tip-n-Split

A few years ago, as she was approaching retirement, Connie Inukai found herself facing a challenge many do as they get older – reading small print in dimly lit restaurants. Instead of letting it go, she decided to find a solution. She set out to create a fun and useful product for restaurant goers who didn’t want to bring their smart phones to dinner.

The result is Tip-n-Split, a pocket sized magnifier, light, and calculator rolled into one.

Learning about AMD and Giving Back

In her journey to create Tip-n-Split and get it into the hands of people with diminishing eyesight, Connie started hearing about Macular Degeneration. Over and over it came up as she was meeting people at expos.

“So many people told me I could really use this, or my mom really needs this, she has Macular Degeneration. So many people seemed to have this, but I didn’t know anything about it, so I looked it up.”

Once Connie realized how many people were suffering from AMD, she wanted to make a contribution beyond the product. She reached out to us and let us know she wanted to give 10% of the proceeds from online sales to the cause of Macular Degeneration.

“At this stage in my life I want to start giving back.”

And she didn’t stop there. She sent us 12 Tip-n-Splits to give away as gifts. If you’d like to receive a Tip-n-Split for free, tell us about your Macular Degeneration solutions (or frustrating lack thereof) for reading the menu in dimly lit restaurants. We’ll send a Tip-n-Split to the first 12 commenters! Be sure to include your email so we can get in touch!

You can find out more about Connie and Tip-n-Split at www.tipandsplit.com.

**UPDATE: (December 12) Connie was so moved by your comments she sent us 12 more Tip-n-Splits to give away for a total of 24!

Behind the Scenes of AMDF’s 2017 Feast for the Eyes Calendar

On a sunny day back in May, a team of people came together to cook for, photograph, and design a calendar with delicious foods good for eye health.

Feast for the Eyes 2017 Eye Healthy Recipes for Macular Degeneration

Some key people from the team that developed the AMDF cookbook, Eat Right for Your Sight, came together to create the Feast for the Eyes calendar. Jennifer Trainer Thompson developed the recipes, guided by the groundbreaking research of Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM, one of America’s leading experts in the field of age-related macular degeneration.

Jennifer Trainer Thompson

Before the photo shoot got under way, Jennifer Trainer Thompson was on deck for prep and to help organize and oversee cooking of the recipes she had developed.

Catrine Kelty and Jody Fijal

Catrine Kelty (food stylist) reviews the order of recipes with Jody Fijal (food preparation). This was one of the few moments Jody wasn’t furiously cooking!

AMDF Calendar Photo Shoot

Jody and Susan tag-teaming clean-up between dishes.

AMDF Oysters on the Half Shell

Remnants from the Oysters on the Half Shell recipe (don’t worry, somebody ate them) which contains lutein and zeaxanthin, both good for eye health.

Feast for the Eyes Photo Shoot

Christian Goulette, photography assistant, making adjustments to the camera before a shot.

Photographing the AMDF Feast for the Eyes Calendar

Catrine arranges a dish for Joe Keller, photographer, while Christian makes tech adjustments in the background.

AMDF Feast for the Eyes Calendar Shoot

The team reviews how the shot looks on screen. Take a shot, review, make adjustments, rinse and repeat until it’s calendar worthy!

Blueberries | Foods good for eye health

Blueberries for the Spinach Watercress Salad, plates awaiting the Carrot Soufflé Dessert, and in the background, empty oyster shells. All foods good for eye health!

AMDF Eye Healthy Recipes Calendar

The last step in the day’s process… in an adjacent room, Hans Teensma (middle) takes the approved photos and puts together the design of the calendar while Chip Ghoehring (background), AMDF founder and president, looks on to offer feedback along with AMDF’s Paul Gariepy (foreground).

Foods for Macular Degeneration

Ok, the actual last step. Clean your plate!

The 2017 Feast for the Eyes Calendar is available in our shop [click here to purchase] or, through November [EDIT: now through December!], if you donate $100 or more to AMDF, we’ll send you the calendar as a gift [click here to donate]. Donations support AMDF in meeting the needs of those affected by age-related macular degeneration through education, supporting research and new technologies, and offering hope and resources to live, and even thrive, with the disease.