Silver Book Fact

Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) sponsored by the National Eye Institute

“Hyman Shapiro of Rockville, Maryland, practiced law for 45 years until his vision problems made it too difficult to read the law books. In 1988, he was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and at the time was told there was no treatment.

Three years later, Hyman learned about the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) sponsored by the National Eye Institute. He volunteered to be part of the study. AREDS successfully showed that high levels of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduce the risk of advanced AMD and help people keep their vision.

Since participating in AREDS, Hyman has kept up with the latest research, and today there are a number of methods to slow the progression of AMD. Hyman has had laser treatments to halt the leakage of blood vessels in his right eye, is undergoing photodynamic therapy and receives injections of the medicine ranibizumab, which blocks abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage in the retina.

‘I try to be optimistic about the future of eye research. Someday the pall of blindness will be conquered and millions of people will be able to live useful, independent lives instead of needing leader dogs or caretakers.’

Despite his visual impairment, Hyman keeps active, serving on the Montgomery County (Maryland) Property Review Board, which decides whether the state has offered just compensation for private land seized for public use. The self-described “baby” of that group, he emphasizes the importance of retirees serving their communities.”

Research!America. Investment in Research Saves Lives and Money: Vision and Blindness; 2008. http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/factsheet16vision.pdf

Reference

Title
Investment in Research Saves Lives and Money: Vision and Blindness
Publication Date
2008
Authors
Research!America
URL
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Categories

  • Cost of Disease
  • Human Burden

Related Facts

  • An estimated 2.4 million Americans over the age of 40 have low vision.  
  • Blindness due to glaucoma
    Three out of four Americans that are legally blind due to glaucoma are over 65.  
  • The annual direct medical costs (including outpatient, inpatient, and prescription drug services) for Americans age 40 and older with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is $575 million.  
  • An estimated 4,195,966 Americans age 40 and older have vision impairment and blindness—1,288,275 are blind and 2,907,691 have vision impairment.  
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among white Americans– accounting for 54% of cases of blindness.