When reading a book, driving your kids to school, or meeting up with friends for dinner, it’s likely that you don’t stop to think about your eyesight. In fact, it’s safe to say that most people take their vision for granted despite what a pivotal role this sense plays in everyday life. Vision loss can result from birth defects, trauma/injury, eye disease, complications from other diseases or even age. Receiving a low vision diagnosis can be devastating, which is why the month of February is dedicated to raising awareness for low vision in general as well as eye diseases in the aging population that cause vision loss such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The researchers and clinicians at the USC Roski Eye Institute have made great strides in diagnosing and treating low vision, and strongly believe that taking a proactive approach to eye care can lead to early detection and prevention.
Advancing Low Vision Research
Our researchers have been working to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries that have caused visual impairment. Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering, James Weiland, PhD and his research team have created a prototype wearable visual aid (WVA) that is based on a smartphone system that contains complex visual algorithms, as well as a head-mounted camera and audio aid. Through this device, a patient would be able to select an object using the smartphone controller and then correctly identify the item with the camera input. The device would then guide the patient using voice commands to grasp the object. Once fully optimized, the WVA is expected to greatly improve the lives of veterans and the general public who live with any level of visual impairment.
Improving the Prognosis of AMD
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss among people age 50 and older in the United States. AMD is a central retinal disease that damages the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells that help support the photoreceptors (light sensitive cells) that process images. Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD, and David R. Hinton, MD received nearly $38 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to develop a stem cell-based treatment for AMD. The team has developed a novel procedure in which a thin sheet of stem cell-derived RPE are placed beneath the diseased portion of the retina. The Phase 1 Clinical Trial has been approved and enrollment is underway.
For more information on our clinical trials please visit:
Learn More from Our Renowned Ophthalmology Team
In our continuing efforts to enhance the lives of those suffering, our physicians stay up-to-date on the most advanced methods in the diagnosis and treatment of vision loss. Given the broad range of causes of vision loss, our multidisciplinary team of fellowship-trained experts, are dedicated to providing care within all areas of ophthalmic subspecialties. To learn more from our renowned ophthalmology team and our treatment options, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (323) 747-2223 or submit a contact form today to make an appointment.
For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.