18th Annual Vision Research Symposia
The latest research in stem cell transplantation that could one day restore vision for people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye diseases will headline two symposia in March hosted by Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida with Schepens Eye Research Institute│ Massachusetts Eye and Ear, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The 18th Annual Vision Research Symposia will be Sunday, March 24, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Naples Hilton, 5111 Tamiami Trail North. The symposium will be repeated in Fort Myers on Monday, March 25, from 9 a.m. until noon at Harborside Event Center, 1375 Monroe Street. Both symposia, which are free and open to the public, are provided by Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida as a community service. Advanced registration is required and is now available online at www.MassEyeAndEar.org/symposium or by calling 1-866-946-6824. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend this year’s symposia. “These are exciting times in the field of ophthalmology. Stem cell therapy is being tested now for safety in clinical trials at Massachusetts Eye and Ear,” said Dr. Joseph Walker, founder of Retina Consultants and an adjunct clinical faculty member with Schepens Eye Research Institute│Massachusetts Eye and Ear. “We are very encouraged by the results we have seen so far.” Schepens Eye Research Institute│Massachusetts Eye and Ear (SERI│MEE) is the largest eye research facility in the world and has collaborated with Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida on the symposia for the past 18 years. Dr. Dean Eliott, Associate Director of Retina Service at MEE, will review the latest stem cell research and what it means for individuals with AMD. Scientists are now conducting Phase II research in collaboration with Advanced Cell Technologies, which has developed a stem cell line that when injected into the eye is designed to restore the retina and improve vision in individuals with AMD. SERI│MEE will be a clinical site for the Phase II clinical trials. AMD is the leading cause of legal blindness in people over the age of 50 in the western world. Approximately 13 million Americans have wet or dry AMD. In addition to sharing the newest AMD therapies, treatments for other retinal disorders will be discussed. Among those will be Jetrea, which was approved for commercial use in January for individuals with symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA). Retina Consultants was a clinical trial site evaluating this new treatment in 2007 and 2009. Dr. Kip Connor, assistant professor with Harvard Medical School and a research associate with MEE will discuss the dietary implications of AMD and how individuals can adjust their diet to preserve as much of their vision as possible. Rich Godfrey, patient liaison with SERI│MEE, will give a patient’s perspective of the challenges he’s faced and lessons he’s learned from having AMD. Other speakers during the symposia include Dr. Walker, Dr. Glenn L. Wing, Dr. Ashish Sharma, and Dr. Donald C. Fletcher of Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida and the National Ophthalmic Research Institute (NORI). Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida is the most experienced team of retina specialists in the Southwest Florida region with combined experience of more than 100 years. Offices are conveniently located in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Naples and Port Charlotte.
5111 Tamiami Trail North, Naples, FL 34103