Helping find the missing puzzle piece through macular research
Finding the missing piece of the age-related macular degeneration (AMD) puzzle could be the difference between vision loss and reconnecting people like Jim with the world they once saw so clearly.
The first time you meet Jim, you just know you’re going to like him. He’s the sort of person that lends a hand whenever possible and tackles challenges or problems head on and with a positive attitude.
Retired now, Jim and wife Clare love being a part of their three married daughters’ lives and the chaotic fun of eight grandchildren.
“They’re wonderful and they keep us very, very busy,” Jim said laughing.
Between 2005 and 2019, Jim and Clare’s love of travel took them all over the world from Japan to Croatia and from the Mediterranean to Alaska. Unfortunately, as the world opens up again, future travel is off the cards.
“We won’t travel anymore. Not because we don’t want to but because of my eyesight,” said Jim. “There’s just no point, I can’t see as much as I used to, and it’s difficult.”
Jim has advanced dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
This can be a devastating diagnosis as there are still no effective treatments for dry AMD.
While the treatment of wet AMD has significantly improved the lives of those living with it, dry AMD leads to a gradual and permanent loss of central vision.
When we recently spoke with Jim and asked how his sight was, he replied, “Well, it’s impossible to read and I can’t see photographs anymore. I’m also experiencing double vision, so I know it’s getting worse. But you can’t stop can you? You’ve just got to get on with it.”
Finding the missing piece of the age-related macular degeneration (AMD) puzzle could be the difference between vision loss and re-connecting people like Jim with the world they once saw so clearly.
How do we predict, among all the people who have wet or dry AMD, who is at high-risk of progression? Can we slow down the progression of AMD? And how do we optimise outcomes in wet AMD to minimise repeat treatments?
In the CERA labs, we have teams investigating the genetic causes of AMD, developing new therapies to treat retinal diseases, and looking at new ways to deliver AMD treatments so that in the future people will need fewer injections or be able to take eye drops instead.
Our teams are also working with eye clinics in suburban areas so there is greater access for people unable to come to Melbourne.
Hope for future generations
Jim took part in a clinical trial at CERA, one of nearly 20 clinical research projects currently being undertaken, with more participants actively being sought for future AMD trials.
“The Macular Team called to explain the clinical trial to see if I was suitable to be fitted with a device that could increase the blood flow to the back of my eye, potentially offering a new effective treatment for dry AMD and I signed up straight away.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify, but just knowing that there is potentially a life-changing operation available for people like me who thought this would never be possible, it’s amazing.
“The researchers involved, and what they’re working on might not help me. But it might help my grandkids and other people that have similar problems. If I can be part of helping to find a solution, I’m proud to have been involved.”