UCSD’s Shiley Eye Center is receiving national accolades for its visionary approach to studying and treating age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Shiley’s Division of Community Ophthalmology was the only clinical site, out of 82 nationwide, to receive an award for Exemplary Overall Performance Efforts at the recent AREDS2 (Age Related Eye Disease Study 2) annual conference. Shiley was also one of seven sites recognized for Exemplary Data Quality at the April 2008 conference in Houston, Texas.
The AREDS2 is multi-center randomized trial, funded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, designed to determine if a modified combination of vitamins, minerals and fish oil can slow vision loss from macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older.
The UC San Diego Shiley team is led by Barbara L. Brody, M.P.H., clinical professor of ophthalmology and family and preventive medicine and director of the Community Ophthalmology Division at Shiley Eye Center; and Shiley Eye Center director Stuart I. Brown M.D., professor and chair, department of ophthalmology; with special thanks to study coordinators Linda Field, M.A., Jenie Chung, Kristine Brandt, and Henry A. Ferreyra, M.D., assistant clinical professor, department of ophthalmology.
“We are honored to be among such prestigious competition,” said Brody. “This recognition is a re-affirmation of our everyday standard of excellence.”
The AREDS2 recognition took note of the Shiley team’s system for recruiting and maintaining subjects as well as for exemplary data quality. “They audited our program and we exceeded best practices in all areas. They told us that our system will be used as an example for other centers to help enhance their programs,” added Field.
For the five-year study, the team recruited participants between the ages of 50 to 85 who have drusen (yellow deposits under the retina) in both eyes or large drusen in one eye and advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in the other eye.
Ferreyra pointed out that the original AREDS trial found that antioxidant supplements lowered the risk of progression to advanced AMD for patients with intermediate stage AMD. However, the AREDS trial also noted that patients with the highest dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and lutein had an additional protective benefit.
“The primary goal of AREDS2 is to determine if supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and/or lutein gives the same benefit observed with dietary consumption,” noted Ferreyra. “Currently, treatments for dry AMD are limited to the antioxidant supplements used in the first AREDS study. The knowledge gained from this study -- to find out whether a modified combination of vitamins, minerals and fish oil can further slow vision loss -- could help patients in San Diego, and beyond, in slowing the progression of this disease.” He noted that in addition all study participants are offered the original AREDS formulation (now considered standard of care).
Interested participants can call the study coordinator at 858-822-1234.
About Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration gradually destroys sharp, central vision used for seeing objects clearly and common daily tasks, such as reading. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), AMD advances so slowly in some cases, that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes. AMD occurs in two forms: wet and dry. 90 percent of those affected have dry AMD. The most common symptom of dry AMD is slightly blurred vision, which may mean difficulty recognizing faces and the need for more light for reading and other tasks. One of the most common early signs of dry AMD is ‘drusen,’ yellow deposits under the retina.
UC San Diego Shiley Eye Center
From basic eye exams to the most advanced diagnostic tests and sophisticated surgery, the physicians and staff at the UC San Diego Shiley Eye Center provide comprehensive eye care at one convenient location.
Founded in 1991, the Shiley Eye Center is home to academic and basic research, innovative and unique surgical practices and patient treatment for a wide variety of ophthalmologic concerns. The Division of Community Ophthalmology programs reach out to bring eye testing to the San Diego Head Start Program and Public Schools with the EyeMobile for Children, in an effort to serve members of our community of all ages who face challenges associated with poor, restricted vision. A self-management educational program helps those who are afflicted with Macular Degeneration providing the means to cope with the illness and its side effects so that they can better function within society.
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Kim Edwards, UC San Diego School of Medicine
Karen Anisko, Shiley Eye Center