Join AMDF’s Newsletter for Important News about Macular Degeneration

Important Information for Everyone Dealing with AMD!

The AMDF Newsletter, In the Spotlight, provides regular interviews, tip sheets, and updates on research, healthy living and managing AMD, all delivered in a useful format:

  • Printed in large type.
  • Pre-punched for easy storage in a three-ring binder for quick future reference.
  • Interprets the latest scientific information about macular degeneration, and, when applicable, offer simple, helpful guidelines that can be easily incorporated into your every day life.
  • Provides interviews with ophthalmologists, researchers, nutritionists and those living with macular degeneration.
  • Reviews low vision aids and organizations, foods and recipes, and books and media.
  • With a donation of $25.00 ($40.00 Foreign) or more, you will receive four issues of the AMDF Newsletter. Your donation promotes the AMDF’s education and research goals.

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Curren Issue No. 53

Feature Article – We interviewed Sensei Jack Stewart – Zen Archery master, Japanese Sword master, Tai Chi instructor, and sculptor – about his early diagnosis of macular degeneration, life with macular degeneration, and how the contemplative arts help him manage.

Other highlights in the issue:

  • Your First Low Vision Evaluation
  • A pull-out guide on what to expect and what to bring to your low vision evaluation.
  • The promise and peril of the latest stem cell research and treatment protocols.
  • A review of the latest in wearable assistive technology for the visually impaired.

Index of Previous Issues

No. 51

Feature Article – Three studies find a rare gene variant which encodes the complement system, a set of proteins that plays an important part in immune responses, plays an important role in age-related macular degeneration.

  • Inflammation inhibitor from a virus used in gene therapy to treat dry AMD in animal trials.
  • Vasotide eye drops show reduced blood vessel growth in mice with retinal diseases.
  • Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study reports the assessment of lifestyle and AMD after 10 years.
  • Researchers have discovered that patients who take L-DOPA are less likely to develop AMD.

No. 50

Feature Article – Leafy vegetables and fish still the best foods to eat for eye health.

  • Retinal pigment epithelial sheet grown from patient’s skin for implantation in eye.
  • Embryonic stem cells converted to retinal pigment epithelial cells and tested for safety when injected into the eye.
  • Acucela’s Emixustat hydrochloride in clinical trials for advanced dry AMD (geographic atrophy – GA).
  • Software developed to convert e-books to a single line of scrolling text.

No. 49

Feature Article – Ophthotech has completed a Phase 2b study of newly diagnosed wet AMD patients comparing the use of Fovista® in combination with Lucentis® to the use of Lucentis alone.

  • The OrCam gives the visually impaired a way to read and more using a camera attached to glasses and a portable pocket computer.
  • An interview with Harry Aizenstat who stays active and uses a variety of devises to help with his vision loss.
  • The International Macular & Retinal Foundation study seeks information from sufferers and their families.

No. 48

Feature Article – In-depth article about the work of Dr Neena Haider decoding the human genome to find a cure for macular degeneration.

  • Review of the new AMDF Cookbook, Feast for the Eyes – Recipes for Healthy Vision, by Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M Seddon, MD, ScM
  • Interview with Polly Brown, a retired missionary talks about her approach to managing macular degeneration.

No. 47

Feature Article – Eccentric Viewing Technique and Steady Eye Skills are techniques that can help a person use their residual vision more effectively.

  • Virus infection is linked to wet AMD.
  • Genetic testing will not alter the course of eye diseases.
  • Squalamine eye drops in clinical trial for wet AMD.
  • Tablet computers use for low vision patients.

No. 46

Feature Article – Australian study found no increase in either early or late progression of macular degeneration after cataract surgery.

  • Anti-oxidant N-acetylcysteine eye drops in testing for a variety of degenerative eye diseases including AMD.
  • Prosthetic retinas which are smaller and require no wiring are under development in Scotland.
  • Nano Retina is working on the creation of a bio-retina which consists of photodetectors, microelectrodes and electronic circuitry to replace damaged photo receptors.
  • Information on low vision lighting.

No. 45

Two AMDF DVDs: A Brighter Tomorrow – Promising Research on Macular Degeneration and Stargardt Disease – Juvenile Macular Degeneration

No. 44

Feature Article – Advanced Cell Technology, Inc announces result of the use of stem cells in a Phase 1/2 trial. Two patients show some visual improvement after 4 months. Larger trials will begin in the United States and Scotland evaluating the use of stem cells for dry macular degeneration and Stargardt macular dystrophy.

  • Increasing choroidal blood flow may slow progression from dry macular degeneration to the wet form.
  • Library Services for the Blind provide many materials for the visually impaired.

No. 43

Feature Article – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced FDA approval of their new drug, Eylea, for wet macular degeneration which requires fewer injections.

  • Study of identical twins indicates that personal dietary and health habits can affect the severity of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Two-year study identifies two new genetic variants to add to the risk prediction models for AMD.
  • Medicare reimbursements for the VisionCare implantable miniature telescope (IMT).

No. 42

Feature Article – Small study in the Netherlands finds vision loss risk tied to daily aspirin for those with advanced AMD.

  • Genetic variant in the Complement System linked to causes of retinal cell damage.
  • Neovista’s treatment in clinical trials may use fewer injections for wet AMD.
  • Home monitoring device to improve detection and early diagnosis.
  • Statistics for AMD treatments.
  • Pistachios are a good source of lutein.

No. 41

Feature Article – Advanced Cellular Technology, Inc. has government approval to begin testing embryonic stem cells in patients with Stargardt Disease.

  • Neovista releases one-year results of Epimacular Brachytherapy procedure to control wet AMD.
  • AMDF officers travel to Michigan to receive $50,000 grant in honor of Bertha Fluharty, sufferer of macular degeneration.
  • Eyetech, Inc. working on extended release formula of Macugen for the treatment of wet macular degeneration.

No. 40

Feature Article – COMPLETE Study to evaluate eculizumab for possible treatment of “dry” macular degeneration.

  • FDA approves the Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT).
  • Fenretinide in clinical trials for geographic atrophy, the most advanced form of “dry” macular degeneration.
  • Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. wins two patents for retinal pigment epithelial cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.
  • Small study shows Avastin to be on a par with Lucentis.

No. 39

Feature Article – Researchers at the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital may have stem cell treatment in seven years.

  • Diabetes vision testing device may also detect AMD 10 years before a person is diagnosed.
  • Sharp rise in AMD expected. New treatments could reduce related blindness by 35%.
  • Schepens Eye Research Institute creates multidisciplinary “Centers of Excellence” to study eye diseases.
  • Mind’s Eye Travel – hosted tours for the blind and visually impaired.

No. 38

Feature Article – The Complement System – An Interview with Gregory Hageman, Ph.D.

  • Georgia O’Keeffe suffered from macular degeneration.
  • Acucela developing drug for dry macular degeneration.
  • Study to find causes targets population over 55 with both wet and dry, advanced AMD.
  • Two supplements for AMD – Macular Health and MacuTrition.

No. 37

Feature Article – 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor.

  • Promising new treatment for dry macular degeneration.
  • Eye compensates for Blind Spot – People are being taught to read using the undamaged part of the eye.
  • Study to find causes targets population over 55 with both wet and dry, advanced AMD.
  • Implantable telescope recommended for FDA approval for end-stage macular degeneration.
  • How Planned Giving to the AMDF can benefit you now.

No. 36

Feature Article – New study finds that chemical triggers can turn progenitor cells into retinal cells in mice.

  • New anti-angiogenesis drug may block proteins which cause blood vessel growth in wet macular degeneration.
  • Potentia Pharmaceuticals developing drug for clinical trials which may block progress of dry AMD.
  • Beta carotene alone may be of little help in improving age-related macular degeneration.
  • Legislation may be brought before Congress to improve currency for the visually impaired.

Double Issue Nos. 34 & 35.

Feature Article – Interview with Johanna M. Seddon, M.D., Sc.M., who has been studying age-related macular degeneration for 20 years and is a leader in the field of AMD research.

  • Genentech restricts the use of its cancer drug for the treatment of “wet” form of AMD.
  • High glucose concentrations may raise risk of developing macular degeneration.
  • In the UK, National Health limits use of Lucentis.
  • VIEW 1 study seeking participants.
  • Opko Health enrolling patients in Phase 3 trial.

Fall 2006. Vol. VIII, No. 1.

Feature Article – Living with “wet” macular degeneration – an interview with Yvette who has had both laser treatments and intra-ocular injections.

  • Nanotechnology finds chemical photoswitches may re-activate rods and cones in rats.
  • British study finds exercise may protect against developing “wet” AMD.
  • Embryonic stem cell tissue implanted in rats with rodent form of macular degeneration.
  • Night vision may be a key to predicting vision loss from “dry” AMD.

Spring/Summer 2006. Vol. VII, No. 4. – Vol. VIII, No. 1.

Feature Article – Lucentis – the first drug approved by the FDA which may improve vision in some patients.

  • New Study AREDS2 seeks participants.
  • Living with genetic macular degeneration – one young person’s experience.
  • Is there a connection between loss of memory and loss of vision?
  • Report on Quinn Baumberger’s “Line of Sight” bicycle ride for AMD research.
  • Macular pigment density may indicate risk of developing macular degeneration.

Winter 2005/2006. Vol. VII, No. 3.

Feature Article – A small study of a drug designed for colo/rectal cancer, Avastin, used “off label” may improve vision of those with “wet” macular degeneration.

  • Genetic variants of factors which govern the immune system may lead to increased risk of developing AMD.
  • Not only a risk factor for heart disease, waist circumference to hip ratio may be an indicator for the progression from the “dry” to the “wet” type of AMD.
  • What is Ocular Coherence Tomography?

Summer/Fall 2005. Vol. VII, Nos. 1-2.

Spring 2005. Vol. VI, No. 4.

Feature Article – A large clinical trial of a new anti-angiogenic drug, Lucentis, may show that vision for those with “wet” macular degeneration MAY improve, not just be preserved.

  • Part 2: Seeing Beyond The Eye – What doctors should know about the emotional effects of vision loss on their patients.
  • New Video/DVD produced by the AMDF, Hope and Cope — Living with Macular Degeneration, features prominent physicians and individuals coping with the disease including actors Dabney Coleman and Don Knotts, and Olympic runner Marla Runyan.
  • What is Charles Bonnet Syndrome?
  • Melanin lenses may reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Winter 2004/2005. Vol. VI, No. 3.

Feature Article – In December 2004, the FDA authorized the first ophthalmic anti-angiogenic drug, Macugen, for the treatment of neovascular (“wet”) age-related macular degeneration.

  • Part 1: Seeing Beyond The Eye – What doctors should know about the emotional effects of vision loss on their patients.
  • The NEI is sponsoring a clinical study of DHA dietary supplementation on macular function in patients with Stargardt macular dystrophy and Stargardt-like macular dystrophy.
  • A company will customize books for the low vision community.
  • Recipe for a low-carb scallop spinach supper.

Summer/Fall 2004. Vol. VI, Nos. 1-2.

Feature Article – Researchers and clinicians are adding a new dimension to understanding the impact of macular degeneration on a patient’s quality of life.

Other Articles –

  • A report on drugs in the pipeline to treat macular degeneration.
  • Would you like to participate in a clinical trial? An introduction to what they are and how they work.
  • A listing of companies that provide products for the visually impaired from talking watches to lighted magnifiers.
  • What is intravitreal Kenalog?
  • An interview with the AMDF’s scientific advisor.
  • Readers’ questions and answers.

Spring 2004. Vol. V, No. 4.

Feature Article – Lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (LAST) shows nutritional supplement may aid in slowing “dry” macular degeneration.

Other Articles –

  • Time to stop smoking? Quitting smoking has important implications for people with AMD.
  • Donated eyes help scientists improve treatment of macular degeneration.
  • New procedure may prove to be simpler and safer for patients with submacular bleeding.
  • New drug slows growth of blood vessels and may reduce further damage to the retina.

Winter 2003/2004. Vol. V, No. 3.

Feature Article – Treatment for cancer has potential for macular degeneration. Drugs, which target proteins that cause the growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors, may prove to be valuable in treating “wet” macular degeneration.

Other Articles –

  • Low vision devices are much improved – helping those with severe vision loss to function better.
  • Laser treatment for “dry” macular degeneration may be on the way.
  • Submacular surgery to remove the lesions caused by choroidal neovascularization is being tested.
  • Editorial on CMS coverage for Photodynamic Therapy to treat macular degeneration with occult lesions.

Fall 2003. Vol. V, No. 2.

Feature Article – Too Much of a Good Thing? Taking too many vitamins may not be good for your health. A related article on dietary supplements says that taking them may cut the risk of vision loss due to macular degeneration.

Other Articles –

  • A Clinical Trial studies the prevention of depression in patients with macular degeneration.
  • Letter from a Spotlight reader describes the benefits of magnification reading machines.
  • Statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) may prevent macular degeneration.
  • Visually impaired artists “see” with photography.

Summer 2003. Vol. V, No. 1.

Feature Article – Why people may not like vegetables and why its important that Americans learn to eat more veggies.

Other Articles –

  • Possible settlement of lawsuit against Federal Dept. of Health & Human Services regarding Medicare Coverage of Ocular Photodynamic Therapy with Visudyne® for the treatment of AMD with occult lesions.
  • Until recently, no one thought of blindness as a women’s issue. But it is.
  • Update on an on-going Clinical Trial for “wet” macular degeneration.
  • The solution to the AMDF’s Crossword Puzzle, “The Eyes Have It.”

Winter/Spring 2002. Vol. IV, Nos. 1 – 2.

Feature Article – AREDS Study – A clinical study sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that high levels of antioxidants and zinc can significantly reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.

Other Articles –

  • Part II – Transpupillary Thermal Therapy.
  • Research Update – Alcon Clinical Trial for “wet” macular degeneration.
  • Health and Human Services breaks promise to provide Medicare coverage for use of Visudyne® for AMD with occult lesions.
  • The painter Bill Wiggins and his “Macular Degeneration Series.”
  • A fun crossword puzzle entitled “The Eyes Have It.”

Fall 2001. Vol. III, No. 4.

Feature Article – BiOptic Driving – a miniature telescope that works with conventional glasses may help those with macular degeneration continue to drive.

Other Articles –

  • Transpupillary Thermal Therapy.
  • Research Update – Telescopic Intraocular Lens Implants.
  • Recipe – Kale Soup from Justus Conant, Chef and Captain.
  • Readers Want to Know – Answers to Your Questions.

Summer 2001. Vol. III, No. 3.

Feature Article – Snack Foods May Increase Your Risk of Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Eating Fish May Decrease Your Risk.

Other Articles –

  • Straining at the Computer Screen.
  • Research Update – Dr. Papermaster’s search for the cause of macular degeneration.
  • Recipe – Goldilocks’ Gourmet Spinach Soup by Diane Mott Davidson in her book Dying for Chocolate, a culinary murder mystery published by Bantam Books, copyright 1992.
  • AMDF News – Sprint for Sight held in Wichita, Kansas in August 2001.

Spring 2001. Vol. III, No. 2.

Feature Article – New Glasses Can Help Extremely Poor Vision – a report on The Jordy.

Other Articles –

  • Let’s Live Longer – National Survey of Attitudes Toward Aging.
  • Will “Zeaxanthin-Enhanced” Produce be Marketed Soon?
  • Seeing Software – Government agencies using new software to make Web sites more accessible to the visually impaired.
  • Singapore Device Helps Blind Hear Their Way Around.
  • Book Review – My Friend You are Legally BLIND – A Writer’s Struggle with Macular Degeneration by Charles Champlin.

Winter 2000/2001. Vol. III, No. 1.

Feature Article – “Caution: Blue Light May Be Harmful to Your Eyes” by George Torrey, Ph.D.

Other Articles –

  • “My Christmas Wish – An Interview with [Golfer] Dottie Pepper” by Henry C. Hallas.
  • An Interview with Dorothy Woodcock, Dottie Pepper’s Grandmother.
  • “Voting & Macular Degeneration!” by Henry C. Hallas.

Fall 2000. Vol. II, No. 4.

Feature Article – Smoking and Hypertension Linked to Severe AMD.

Other Articles –

  • Trials to Start – Implantable Miniaturized Telescope for AMD.
  • Research Council Forum.
  • Is Viagra™ a Potential Treatment for AMD?
  • Recipe for Mediterranean Spinach Pie by Elva of Bayside, CA.

Summer 2000. Vol. II, No. 3.

Feature Article – Legally Blind Runner with Stargardt Disease Qualifies for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games. Californian Marla Runyan competes in the women’s 1,500 meter race.

Other Articles –

  • “LUTEIN – Information for Everyone” by George Torrey, Ph.D. Includes chart of foods showing amount of Lutein per serving.
  • “Conversation with Gwynne” by Henry C. Hallas. Personal story of a woman learning to cope with AMD.
  • Recipe for Sorel’s Corn Kugel.
  • Dr. Sidney Schreiber’s Helpful Hints for People with Visual Impairments.

Spring 2000. Vol. II, No. 2.

Feature Article – “Increased Zeaxanthin In Your Diet May Reduce Your Risk of Macular Degeneration” by George Torrey, Ph.D. Includes chart of foods showing amount of Zeaxanthin per serving.

Other Articles –

  • Visudyne™ Approved For Treatment of Wet Macular Degeneration.
  • Book Review – Twilight, Losing Sight Gaining Insight by Henry Grunwald.

Winter 1999/2000. Vol. II, No. 1.

Feature Article – “Improved Nutrition May Reduce Risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration” by George Torrey, Ph.D.

Other Articles –

  • “Partners for Life – The Promise of a Guide Dog” by The Reverend Lee McGee.
  • Book Review – Overcoming Macular Degeneration, a Guide to Seeing Beyond the Clouds by Dr. Yale Solomon.

Fall 1999. Vol. I, No. 4.

Feature Article – Tips that May Reduce Your Risk of Macular Degeneration.

Other Articles –

  • “Depression and Macular Degeneration. Part II.” An Interview with Arnold Wyse, M.D.
  • Legislative Alert regarding proposed increased funding for the National Eye Institute (NEI).
  • FDA Approves Rheopheresis Blood Filtration Study. By Richard C. Davis, Jr., M.D., President of OccuLogix Corporation. (Multi-center Investigation of Rheopheresis for Age-related Macular Degeneration).
  • Research Update, Part III.
    • Discussion of Retinal-Cell Transplants and Gene Therapy.
  • Recipe for Creamy, Spicy Sweet Potato Soup. From Barry Steeves, co-owner of La Cazuela Restaurant in Northampton, MA.

Summer 1999. Vol. I, No. 3.

Feature Article – “Depression and Macular Degeneration” by Arnold Wyse, M.D. (What Age-related Macular Degeneration patients and family members need to know).

Other Articles –

  • On-Going Research, Part II. Experimental and Research Treatments of Macular Degeneration.
  • Discussion of Radiation Therapy and Photodynamic Therapy.
  • Nutrition – Good Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
  • Six Reasons Why to Visit the AMDF Web Site.

Winter 1998/Spring 1999. Vol. I, No. 2.

Feature Article – Macular Degeneration: Update of On-Going Research, Part One.

  • Discussion of Laser Treatment of Drusen; Antiangiogenic Drugs; Surgical Excision; and Macular Translocation.

Other Articles –

  • Book Review – Macular Degeneration: Living Positively with Vision Loss by Betty Wason and James J. McMillan, M.D.
  • “Leafing Out: Forget Popeye … spinach has gone upscale” by Rick Nichols. Reprinted with permission from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan.11, 1998.
  • Recipe for Rotolo.

Fall 1998. Vol. I, No. 1.

Feature Article – Possible Beneficial Effects of Vitamin, Mineral and Nutritional Supplements on Macular Degeneration.

Other Articles –

  • “Medical Research, Education, & Activism: A New Model” by David Kriebel, Sc.D.
  • Recipe for Collard Greens by Louise L. Hallas, Esq.
  • Brief Obituary of The Honorable Maxwell Heiman, a former Trustee of the AMDF.

Previous issues of the AMDF Newsletter are available
for $10.00 each ($15.00 Foreign).