On March 26, 2011, the Macular Degeneration Association (MDA) hosted its first educational conference in Tampa, Florida. The conference educated age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients about the scientific advances in treatments currently evolving in the field of macular degeneration. Nearly 200 AMD patients, caregivers, and family members were in attendance.
The conference offered participants many opportunities to learn about the latest advances in macular degeneration research, genetic testing, medications, treatments, and therapies, by hosting several conference faculty members and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) exhibitors. The event featured presentations by important figures in the retina field, including macular treatment pioneer Dr. Michael Tolentino, known best for developing revolutionary treatment strategies to slow the progression of AMD. Dr. Tolentino is very active with the Association, and he serves as MDA’s scientific co-founder and medical director. Dr. Tolentino is a physician with the Center for Retina and Macular Disease (CRMD). At the conference in Tampa, he spoke to patients about the current scientific understanding of the disease, including the specific anatomical changes macular patients will experience. Dr. Tolentino also introduced the latest revolution in AMD science-genetic testing. He explained that labs can evaluate a patient’s simple cheek swab sample to estimate an individual’s risk level of developing AMD.
In addition to Dr. Tolentino, MDA’s educational conference featured optometrist Dr.Sonya Braudway of the Center for Retina and Macular Disease, and retina specialists Dr. Dana Deupree, Dr. Karen Gehrs (CRMD physician), Dr. Benjamin Kim (CRMD physician), and Dr. Brian Madow. Members of the conference faculty covered such topics as current treatments for wet and dry macular degeneration, alternative therapies, how low vision can help, and treatments of the future. Dr. Deupree helped patients understand exactly what doctors examines during an office visit, and advised patients about the types of questions to ask during their office visit. The conference faculty also made themselves available to the patients by actively participating in a panel discussion where conference attendees could ask specific questions.
MDA’s first educational conference was a unique opportunity to interact with nationally known macular experts, local doctors, and fellow patients and caregivers in an open forum. MDA announced plans to host another educational conference in the fall of 2011.
About the Macular Degeneration Association (MDA)
The Macular Degeneration Association (MDA) is a nonprofit health organization dedicated to educating and empowering age-related macular degeneration patients all across the world. Age-related macular degeneration is an increasingly prevalent degenerative eye disease, affecting millions of aging seniors.
The mission of MDA is to educate patients on the latest advances in treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, our focus extends far beyond diagnosed patients. We are committed to the senior population at large, those most at risk of developing macular degeneration.
Our goal is to provide information about risk factors, genetic predisposition, and proper diagnosis, as well as preventative efforts and treatment options that will likely reduce the most adverse effect of AMD, blindness. MDA is passionate about funding and developing sophisticated patient education and advocacy programs designed to improve macular patients’ quality of life. This is accomplished through the Association’s patient education conferences and seminars held nationwide.
The Association honors its commitment to prioritizing patient education by aligning itself with experts in the macular field, investigating retina-related scientific breakthroughs, and disseminating new scientific advances to macular patients across the world. We strongly believe that providing support, education and empowerment to the millions of people living with age-related macular degeneration will improve patient quality of life, and energize the retina field to develop advances in treating AMD. It is our hope that encouraging knowledge and awareness will ultimately lead to a cure.