UAMS Seeking Participants for National Study on Vision Loss

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) are seeking participants with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to measure the impact of vitamins and fish oil on the disease.


The UAMS Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute (JEI) is one of 100 centers around the country taking part in the study, sponsored by the National Eye Institute, which is trying to determine if a combination of vitamins, minerals and fish oil can slow or prevent vision loss from AMD, the leading cause of vision loss in the United States for people over age 60. The five-year study follows earlier research showing that high-dose antioxidant vitamins and minerals, taken by mouth, reduced the risk of additional vision loss.


JEI is seeking study participants, from 50 to 85 years old, who have large drusen – yellow deposits under the retina that can be an early sign of AMD – in either eye or advanced AMD in one eye and a large drusen in the other eye. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 will include two initial eye exams then annual eye exams for five years. All study supplements and daily multivitamins will be provided at no charge to participants.


“We have evidence from the first study that high antioxidant vitamins help fight vision deterioration from AMD,” said Ammar Safar, M.D., a retina specialist at the eye institute and associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine. “This new study will seek to find if the combination of these important nutrients can help preserve vision.”


For more information on the clinical trial, contact Deborah Troillett of the Jones Eye Institute at 501-526-6394 or Shirley Hankins at 501-296-1156.


Age-related macular degeneration occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, is damaged. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. As the disease progresses, it blurs the patient’s central vision.


AMD can take two forms, wet and dry. Wet AMD is caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels under the macula. This leads to rapid loss of central vision. Wet AMD is considered to be advanced AMD and is more severe than the dry form. Dry AMD, the more common form, occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,430 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit