Vision Loss  /  Innovative Medical Research

More than 38 million Americans age 40 and older are blind, visually impaired, or have an age-related eye disease, and adult vision loss costs our economy more than billion a year. With major advances in vision research bringing new prevention and treatments, it is critical that support for research and incentives for innovation remain a priority. The Alliance for Aging Research has teamed up with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) during their Decade of Vision, to release Volume II of The Silver Book®:Vision Loss. Volume II brings updated data on vision loss in older Americans, as well as the exciting changes and discoveries in vision research and treatment.  

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    • DR Treatment Savings in the US
      Every year, the U.S. saves an estimated $1.6 billion by treating DR.  
    • Economics of DR Treatment
      Laser treatment plus a VEGF inhibitor achieved an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $12,410 per quality adjusted life year in patients with DME.  
    • Mobile Exam for DR
      Use of a mobile examination for DR screening in Finland decreased visual impairment by 86% in the covered area.  
    • Remote Interpretation of Retinal Imaging for DR
      Use of remote interpretation of retinal imaging in diabetics sent via tele-ophthalmology, improved the frequency of screening from 32% to 71% in only 12 months.  
    • Tele-ophthalmology
      Adequately trained general practitioners can screen for DR with 90% sensitivity using tele-ophthalmology.  
    • Blood Pressure Control in Patients with Diabetes
      Tight blood pressure control in type 2 diabetes patients reduced progression of DR by 34% and risk of deterioration by 47% after 9 years.  
    • Anti-VEGF Letter Improvement
      An anti-VEGF therapy for DME improved vision by more than 15 letters in approximately 36-51% of participants in a trial.  
    • Anti-VEGF Visual Improvement
      Nearly 50% of DME patients who received an anti-VEGF drug, experienced substantial visual improvement after a year of injections.  
    • Laser Treatment for DR
      Laser treatment of PDR can reduce the 5-year risk of blindness by 90%, and the risk of visual loss from DME by 50%.  
    • Intensive Glycemic Control in People with Diabetes
      Intensive glycemic control in diabetics reduced their: Adjusted mean risk of DR by 76% Risk of progression by 54% Rates of laser surgery by 56% Risk of DME by 23%    
    • DR Treatment Reduced Risk of Blindness
      Appropriate treatment can reduce the risk of blindness or moderate vision loss from DR by more than 90%.  
    • Treatments that have been found to delay or prevent diabetic retinopathy save the U.S. $1.6 billion annually.  
    • Multifoca electroretinogram (mFERG) measures show abnormal function of the retina early in–and even prior to–diabetic retinopathy onset and could enhance monitoring of the early stages of disease progression in individuals.  
    • Screening and treatment for eye disease in all type 2 diabetes patients would result in an estimated net savings of 94,304 person-years of sight.  
    • Gene transfer process treatment for diabetic retinopathy
      A gene transfer process that produces a VEGF receptor prevents retinal vascular permeability (RVP) associated with diabetes that could have value in treating diabetic retinopathy.  
    • Of the 8 Million older Americans at high risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), 1.3 million will develop advanced AMD within 5 years.  However the NEI-sponsored Age-Related Eye…  
    • Cytokines in urine are associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and could be developed as a biomarker and provide a practical tool for early detection  
    • Multifocal electroretinogram (mFERG) and flicker perimetry show abnormal function in the central macula in early ag-related macular degeneration (AMD) and could enhance monitoring of the disease progression in individuals.  
    • The use of antioxidant vitamins and other new therapies for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) could reduce visual impairment and blindness from the disease by 35%.  
    • It has been estimated that monthly use of ranibizumab in individuals with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) would reduce the incidence of legal blindness by 72% and visual impairment by 37%,…  
    • High-intensity ultrasonic cyclocoagulation reduces intraocular pressure in refractory glaucoma patients.  
    • In general, every 10 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure reduces the risk of diabetes complications by 12%.  
    • Timely treatment and follow-up care can reduce the risk of blindness in individuals with proliferative retinopathy by 95%.  
    • Detection and treatment of proliferative diabetic eye disease and clincally significant macular edema with laser therapy can reduce severe vision loss progression by 50% to 60%  
    • Laser treatment and vitrectomy reduce the risk of blindness in patients with severe diabetic retinopathy by 90%.  
    • Nearly 50% of diabetic retinopathy patients who received ranibizumab–an anti-VEGF drug–experienced substantial visual improvement after a year of injections  
    • The ACCORD Eye Study found that combination lipid therapy with a fibrate and statin (compared with statin treatment alone) reduced progression of diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetics by around…  
    • The ACCORD Eye Study found that intensive glycemia control–compared with standard blood sugar control–in high risk type 2 diabetics, decreased progression of diabetic retinopathy by around 1/3 over 4 years–from…  
    • It is estimated that proper treatment and monitoring of the eyes of diabetics could reduce new cases of diabetic retinopathy by 90%.  
    • Current treatments for proliferative diabetic retinopathy have reduced the rate of blindness within 5 years from 50% to less than 5%.  
    • Impact of a healthy lifestyle on age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
      A study exploring the impact of a healthy lifestyle on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) found that women whose diets were the healthiest (scored on the 2005 Healthy Eating Index) had…  
    • A study on the impact of diet on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) found that those who took the highest amounts of carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, had a 43%…  
    • Lucentis to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
      An FDA-approved ophthalmic drug that treats wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)–ranibizumab (Lucentis)–maintained vision in 95% of clinical trial participants and improved vision by 15 or more letters in approximately 25%…  
    • After 54 weeks of receiving bevacizumab, wet age-realted macular degeneration (AMD) patients were more likely to gain at least 6 letters of contrast sensitivity than patikents recieving standard care–35.4% versus…  
    • Supplementation with lutein increases macular pigment optical density by 27%; which is correlated with benefits in visual function.  
    • Treatment of patients with advanced dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) implants resulted in stabilization of visual acuity.  A sub-group analysis found that 100% of patients…  
    • Women taking vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid–as compared to women not taking these supplements–were found to have a 34% lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and a…  
    • The prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the 40 and older population has decreased from an estimated 9.4% from 1988 to 1994, to 6.5% for 2005 to 2008.  
    • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been found to protect against the development and progression of deterioration of the retina (retinopathy).  
    • Between 2008 and 2009, the number of Americans age 65-74 who reported trouble seeing (even with glasses or contacts) decreased from 14.3% to 10.3%.  The number of Americans age 75…  
    • Studies of patients with myocardial infarction found that warfarin reduced stroke risk compared to placeboby 40% to 55%.  
    • Eye Exams: Trends, 1996-2006 (in relation to screening for diabetic retinopathy)  
    • AMD risk reduction through diet
      A recent study indicated that 20% of AMD cases in the AREDS study would have been eliminated if the participants consumed diets with a dGI (dietary glycemic index) below the…  
    • Increase in AMD risk for people with a high dGI
      A recent study showed that there was a 49% increase in the risk of advanced AMD for people with a dGI (dietary glycemic index) higher than the sex median (women…  
    • Treatment costs for a patient with early-stage glaucoma are about $2,000 less than those of a patient diagnosed with a later stage of the disease.  
    • Because the resource use and direct cost of glaucoma treatment and management increases as the disease severity worsens– from an average $623 per early-stage patient to $2,511 per late-stage patient–…  
    • Screening and treatment for eye disease in all type 2 diabetes patients would result in an estimated net savings of 94,304 person-years of sight.  
    • Screening and treatment for eye disease in all type 2 diabetes patients would result in an estimated net savings of over $472.1 million– in 1994 dollars.  
    • Of the 8 million older Americans at high risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), 1.3 million will develop advanced AMD within 5 years. However, the NEI-sponsored Age-Related Eye…  
    • Screening and treatment of diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetes patients produces annual savings of $247.9 million to the federal budget– in 1994 dollars.  
    • The cost-effectiveness of detection and treatment of eye disease in diabetics is $3,190 per quality adjusted life year (QALY).  
    • Prescription eye drops could delay or prevent half of glaucoma cases in African Americans.  
    • The NEI-sponsored Ocular Hypertensive Treatment Study (OHTS) found that lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) by at least 20% produced a 50% protective benefit for individuals who had an elevated IOP but…  
    • Family risk of glaucoma
      “‘Five of my nine brothers and sisters had glaucoma,’ says 81-year-old Jean R. who for 20 years has depended on eye drops to decrease pressure inside her eyes. Jean is…  
    • Current treatments for proliferative diabetic retinopathy have reduced the rate of blindness within 5 years from 50% to less than 5%.  
    • Screening and treatment for diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetes patients produces annual savings of 53,986 person-years of sight.  
    • After 9 years of tight blood pressure control, patients with type 2 diabetes had a 34% reduction in retinopathy progression and a 47% reduction in risk of visual acuity deterioration…  
    • Intensive glucose control (3 or more daily insulin injections or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion) reduced the mean risk of retinopathy progression by 54% in type 1 diabetes patients with minimal-to-moderate…  
    • Intensive glucose control (3 or more daily insulin injections or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion) reduced the mean risk of retinopathy by 76% in type 1 diabetes patients who had not…  
    • A study on the impact of diet on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) found that those who took the highest amounts of carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, had a 43%…  
    • The NEI-sponsored Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that individuals at high risk of developing advanced stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) lowered their risk of disease progression by about…  
    • Timely treatment and follow-up care can reduce the risk of blindness in individuals with proliferative retinopathy by 95%.  
    • Macugen to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
      A new FDA-approved ophthalmic drug that treats wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)– pegaptanib sodium (Macugen)– reduced vision loss in 70% of clinical trial patients.