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From the IOVS Press Release on 1/17/2014:

Aging gracefully may not be an option for the 40 million people worldwide who are blind or have significant visual impairment. It’s reported that 65% of those with visual impairment and 82% of those who are blind are over 50 years of age. In a special issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS), ophthalmic leaders from around the world address “the aging eye” to focus attention on unmet needs and accelerate the translation of research findings into effective clinical care.

“With an aging world population and startling increases in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, we feel that this issue is both important and timely, with chapters highlighting problems in and possible solutions to age-related diseases that affect all the major tissues of the eye,“ said Gerald Chader, PhD, FARVO, chief scientific officer at the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California and medical director of the Ocular Research Symposia Foundation (ORSF).

Based on an ORSF-sponsored workshop held June 14 – 16, 2013, the IOVS issue features new research on the genetics, biology, biochemistry, neurochemistry and the impact of nutrition and the environment on function in the older eye. Articles specifically address the economics of vision loss and the prevention and treatment of individual eye conditions.

These include cataract, estimated to affect almost 22 million above the age of 40, and age-related macular degeneration, deemed the leading cause of blindness in people age 60 and older in the U.S.

According to the report, by 2015, over 10 million Americans will be blind or have significant visual impairment — with a staggering impact on the cost of healthcare for both individuals and society. Direct medical costs of retinal disorders in 2013 were approximately 8.7 billion; for treatable disorders such as cataract and refractive errors, the annual costs in the U.S. are 10.7 and $16.1 billion, respectively.

Chader stresses the special issue will help identify “low-hanging fruit” research opportunities and spur funding at basic research and clinical levels, ultimately resulting in sight-saving and sight-restoration measure. “ORSF hopes to illuminate the way to the best, practicable and most cost-efficient means of combating blinding eye diseases,” he says.

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From the IOVS Press Release on 1/17/2014:

Aging gracefully may not be an option for the 40 million people worldwide who are blind or have significant visual impairment. It’s reported that 65% of those with visual impairment and 82% of those who are blind are over 50 years of age. In a special issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS), ophthalmic leaders from around the world address “the aging eye” to focus attention on unmet needs and accelerate the translation of research findings into effective clinical care.

“With an aging world population and startling increases in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, we feel that this issue is both important and timely, with chapters highlighting problems in and possible solutions to age-related diseases that affect all the major tissues of the eye,“ said Gerald Chader, PhD, FARVO, chief scientific officer at the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California and medical director of the Ocular Research Symposia Foundation (ORSF).

Based on an ORSF-sponsored workshop held June 14 – 16, 2013, the IOVS issue features new research on the genetics, biology, biochemistry, neurochemistry and the impact of nutrition and the environment on function in the older eye. Articles specifically address the economics of vision loss and the prevention and treatment of individual eye conditions.

These include cataract, estimated to affect almost 22 million above the age of 40, and age-related macular degeneration, deemed the leading cause of blindness in people age 60 and older in the U.S.

According to the report, by 2015, over 10 million Americans will be blind or have significant visual impairment — with a staggering impact on the cost of healthcare for both individuals and society. Direct medical costs of retinal disorders in 2013 were approximately 8.7 billion; for treatable disorders such as cataract and refractive errors, the annual costs in the U.S. are 10.7 and $16.1 billion, respectively.

Chader stresses the special issue will help identify “low-hanging fruit” research opportunities and spur funding at basic research and clinical levels, ultimately resulting in sight-saving and sight-restoration measure. “ORSF hopes to illuminate the way to the best, practicable and most cost-efficient means of combating blinding eye diseases,” he says.

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The 6th Drabkin Eye Disease Symposium was held on June 14–15, 2009, at Rancho Valencia, California. The theme of this symposium was ocular gene therapy, with emphasis on recent preclinical studies, the phase 1 clinical trials in progress, plans for further trials, and the challenges to and opportunities for moving this field of medical research into clinical applications offering new hope to patients with blinding eye diseases.

The 14 symposium participants were chosen to bring together experts in viral vector development, gene replacement strategies to overcome an inherited gene defect, therapeutic strategies for in situ production of a beneficial factor (such as a neurotrophic agent), animal models for preclinical studies of gene therapy strategies, and the design and conduct of clinical trials. 

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The fifth in a series of symposia on accelerating the implementation of research results on eye disease was held on June 24–25, 2007, at Rancho Valencia, California. The theme of this Fifth Drabkin Eye Disease Symposium was recent research results on the role of nutrition and other environmental factors in the chronic eye diseases that are major causes of blindness in the United States and around the world. The 11 symposium participants were selected to provide expertise on research progress and prospects for translation to practice for diseases of the cornea and lens, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa.

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The fourth in a series of symposia on accelerating the implementation of research results on eye disease was held on June 11–14, 2005, at Rancho Valencia, California. The theme of this Fourth Drabkin Eye Disease Symposium was an exploration of the special challenges and treatment prospects for dealing with the ways in which chronic blinding eye diseases present in subgroups of a heterogeneous population. The diversity of the American population with respect to ethnic and cultural ancestry provided a starting point for considering implications of a heterogeneous population for understanding and treating potentially blinding eye diseases. Many of the symposium recommendations address issues of public health and the burden of visual impairment in the United States.

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The third in a series of workshops on accelerating the implementation of research results on eye disease was held on October 13–14, 2003, at Rancho Valencia, California. The medical theme of this workshop was “Emerging Therapies for Diseases of the Retina and Optic Nerve.” The task set for its 16 participants was to explore the opportunities for and identify obstacles to translating the recent successful research on these therapies into improved patient care.

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A workshop on the status of research on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was held at Rancho Valencia, near San Diego, California, on February 25–26, 2002.

It focused on issues in developing the fundamental knowledge about AMD needed to advance the state of medical practice, with an emphasis on improving therapeutic interventions.