Research targeting vision loss topic of Latrobe Lions program |

Research targeting vision loss topic of Latrobe Lions program

Jeff Himler
Latrobe Area Historical Society
Latrobe Lions Club member Tom Wandrisco, left, discusses a planned Sept. 24, 2019, program on vision-loss research with Latrobe Area Historical Society President Mary Lou Townsend.

The CEO of the Eye and Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh will visit Latrobe later this month to provide an update on local research that is under way to combat macular degeneration and other conditions that can lead to vision loss.

Lawton Snyder, who is originally from Greensburg, will present a free program on the topic from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Latrobe Area Historical Society, 416 Weldon St., Latrobe.

The talk, sponsored by the Latrobe Lions club, is open to all at no charge. Parking will be available along Weldon Street and in the lot of Kelly, Sparber & White Associates, at Weldon and Alexandria streets.

The foundation is a support organization for the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Pitt and UPMC scientists are “working on a few things that could be transformative for patients with macular degeneration and glaucoma,” said Snyder.

According to the National Eye Institute, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 or older. It involves damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina that is needed for sharp, central vision.

There are two types of AMD that cause vision loss in the condition’s late stage. Dry AMD is caused by the gradual breakdown of light-sensitive cells in the macula. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina and can leak fluid and blood, causing damage to the macula.

Based on projections by the National Institute of Health, Snyder said, close to 3 million people in the United States are experiencing some vision loss from AMD. In light of the nation’s aging population, that figure is expected to jump to more than 5 million by 2050, he said.

Studies are planned on the use of stem cells and gene therapy to address vision problems through tissue regeneration, Snyder said.

For those who have damage that can’t be addressed through regeneration, a camera interface is being studied by a Pitt School of Medicine partner institution in Paris while patients are being recruited for a related clinical trial in Pittsburgh, he said.

The concept, he explained, is for a small camera to “send an image wirelessly to a retinal implant in the back of the eye.”

Snyder, who also is a member of the Lions, noted one of that organization’s missions is to “support research and do service work for people in the community with vision loss.”

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland | Health Now
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.