"This is an exciting opportunity to bring enormous energy and new brain power to solve some of the most complex puzzles in eye research," says Darlene Dartt, PhD, the Director of Scientific Affairs at Schepens who is heading up the project. The Institute plans to combine forces with Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School and other Harvard teaching hospitals by enlisting top investigators exploring diseases as diverse as Alzheimer's, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease to be part of a "think tank" to cure blindness.
As the population ages, the need for new treatments for vision-robbing diseases is becoming critical. Age-related macular degeneration affects more than 1.75 million individuals in the United States. This number is expected to increase to almost 3 million by 2020.Each year 1.3 million Americans over age 20 are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. The financial impact and effect on quality of life for people diagnosed with one of these disorders is devastating, says Dartt.
Eye diseases share many of the same underlying mechanisms at work in diseases in other parts of the body, like the heart and the brain. "While experts from these areas often collaborate informally on vision disease, ophthalmology has remained somewhat specialized and in some ways isola
Contact: Patti Jacobs
Schepens Eye Research Institute