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Tips for Protecting Your Vision

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Jarrod Davies, OD, FCOVD

A telephone discussion featuring Jarrod Davies, OD, FCOVD, a developmental optometrist specializing in vision therapy and neurovisual rehabilitation, and Madeline, a person living with low vision.

  • BrightFocus Foundation
    “Tips for Protecting Your Vision”
    Transcript of Teleconference
    July 30, 2014
    1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT

    Please note: BrightFocus Chats may be edited for clarity and brevity.

    GUY EAKIN: Hello, everyone, and welcome to our monthly BrightFocus chats, presented by the BrightFocus Foundation. My name is Guy Eakin. I’m a former researcher, and also the Vice President of Scientific Affairs at BrightFocus. So, the theme of today’s chat topic—and it’s all about Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) every time we do these chats—but we are going to talk today specifically about protecting your vision.

    If you would like to submit a question at any time during today’s call, please press *3 to submit your question to an operator. If for some reason you are disconnected from the call, here is the number to call back in. It’s 877–229–8493.

    We’ve had many prior conversations. I want to remind people that those recordings and transcripts are all on our website at and you can also listen to archived recordings on the telephone by calling 1–773–572–3164. Some of the topics we have covered have been specific therapies, specific risk factors for macular degeneration, coping strategies—so there is really a wealth of information out there.

    Today’s topic is going to be vision. We are going to get things started by talking to one of the good friends that we have at our Foundation. We are going to use only her first name. Her name is Madeline. She is a patient from New York who has been living with wet AMD. She is going to share a bit of her story and provide some of her tips to listeners today. So Madeline, do we have you on the line? 

    MADELINE: Yes, you do!

    GUY EAKIN: Well, we would love to hear what your experience has been with wet AMD and what things you are doing to make life a little easier for yourself.

    MADELINE: Okay. I’ve been living with wet AMD for four years now but first, I’d like to say that I’m honored and thank you all for the wonderful work that you are doing with people like me, living with this age-related wet macular degeneration. The work that each and every one of you does matter so much for me and to all of us. I would like to encourage people to be more proactive with their overall eye health by raising an awareness about AMD and provide hope and support to the people who are affected by it. In doing so, it really has helped me to live with it and makes my life more positive.

    I never imagined I’d ever be speaking to people about wet AMD for myself. Having grown up with my father who was legally blind all of his life (from another disease called retinitis pigmentosa). I had quite an awareness throughout my life about my overall eye health. It was a yearly thing that I did: take care of my eyes.

    Before my journey began, I was a teacher for 33 years and I had been wearing reading glasses from about the time I was in my 50s. Near the end of my years of teaching, after 33 years, I decided to retire; that June (2010) I did go to see my eye doctor, which was my yearly exam, and everything was fine. He gave me some glasses to help my vision for driving, which was getting a little bit weak. That was in June. Not more than three or four weeks later I woke up one morning, trying to watch the morning news, and I noticed my eye was very blurry. Something was wrong. I covered one eye, and covered the other, and realized that my right eye—my central vision—had a big dark spot. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I called my doctor right away and he made me come in and he examined me and he said, “I think what you have is wet AMD.” He referred me immediately to a retinal specialist.

    In the meantime—it took about two or three weeks to get an appointment—and there was a horrible tragedy in my family. I lost my little granddaughter just shy of her 7th birthday from a genetic heart defect. The grief and the pain, with all that and with my family, was pretty difficult to cope with. My sister had come in from out of town to be with the family and she encouraged me and made sure I went three weeks later to see the specialist.

    After several hours of tests, including a dilated eye exam and an angiogram, he diagnosed me with wet AMD. It’s also the day I received my first injection as part of my specialist-recommended treatment plan. He suggested I start immediately in an effort to help maintain my vision. And I know a lot of people may be afraid of getting the eye injections. I would have been afraid, too, but I knew we had to act quickly and I honestly didn’t have too much time to be scared.

    Whenever I’m speaking to people about being proactive about their eye health, I always stress how extremely important it is to work with your healthcare team and to treat wet AMD immediately, or as soon as possible. I also tell them, if they are afraid or uncomfortable to let your healthcare team know—let your doctor know. There is no reason you should have any kind of major discomfort with these treatments. If so, go to a doctor who will treat you differently and find a specialist who will make you as comfortable as possible. I encourage you to bring a loved one with you to your appointments for support—a friend, a family member—it really does help.

    After several appointments and many, many months of treatments, it finally sunk in to me that I could lose my central vision. It was getting harder and harder for me to drive on rainy days and especially at night. Just the thought of having to depend on other people to drive me around was kind of scary—and losing my independence. It’s difficult. I’m an independent person. My family stuck by me—my friends, my daughters and continued to encourage me to continue with my treatment. I went through a period of not wanting to continue and got really discouraged. But, again, family and friends really did encourage me.

    Eventually I found the strength from within. I thought about my dad and how he fought during his whole life and lived his life to the fullest even though he had limited sight. I thought about the courage in what my son had gone through, losing his daughter, and remembered how brave he had been, and I decided to continue to be proactive with my eye health.

    I researched wet AMD and learned the importance of identifying and tracking my wet AMD symptoms. Using the Amsler Grid is very, very important. I keep one on the refrigerator and I gave them to my family. There is a genetic factor involved here. All of my children have them in their homes on the refrigerator and I encourage them, as they are aging, to look at them on a daily basis. Risk factors—if you smoke, stop. If you haven’t, that’s even better. Monitor your blood pressure, your cholesterol, eat a healthy and nutritious diet. I also work more openly with my doctor. Whenever I am sharing my story, I always encourage others to do the same. If I am not proactive about my overall eye health, then who will be? We have to be proactive about our health—especially our eye health.

    With the help of my specialist and these eye injections, I’ve maintained my vision. I encourage people to be more proactive about their eye health and to openly communicate with their doctor. I went from thinking that there was little that could be done to treat my AMD, to being very hopeful. I am still able to bowl, I still paint, I garden—most importantly, I can still see the faces of my beautiful grandchildren. What’s more, my family is showing signs of true healing. I’m so glad I am able to see them. Especially for my son. I may not have been able to do that if I had given up my fight with wet AMD. My family’s love and support has helped me to accept my wet AMD and continue my treatments.

    There was a point where I was in denial about this disease. That happens a lot. I just couldn’t accept the fact that I could permanently lose my sight, my central vision. But again, my family’s help and perseverance has helped me to persevere.          

    GUY EAKIN: I was just saying, we spend a lot of time talking to people about all of these things, about wearing sunglasses and eating well, and your message of how you have been able to come to a very positive and a very can-do attitude, is something we hear a lot. Many of our speakers and our callers, as well, they’ve all acknowledged this as part of the secret of their success. As you finish up what you were saying, what are the things that really helped you get to that place? To have a very positive attitude? I think I interrupted you as you were starting to talk about some of your family. But what are those things that have helped you to reach the place where you are now?

    MADELINE: Talking to other people, other people who have this disease, other patient ambassadors, how they have continued and how they are positive. It’s pushed me to be positive. Telling me that the injections and the treatments might be somewhat uncomfortable but it’s what is going to maintain what vision I do have. To take care of it immediately, not to let it go. To continue on a diet and to use sunglasses.

    I’d stop and then say to myself, “Hey, it could be worse.” It’s my eyes, it is treatment that will continue to help me maintain my vision. I think that’s what has kept me going. If I were to be told that there was nothing they could do, then it might be a different story—but there are things that you can do. New treatments have really helped me.

    GUY EAKIN: Well I’m glad to hear that. We do have another caller joining us, a specialist: Dr. Jarrod Davies. Are you there now?

    DR. JARROD DAVIES: I am here.

    GUY EAKIN: Alright, wonderful! Dr. Davies is an O.D. and an F.C.O.V.D., and all those letters are something you would see on his door. What that means is he is an optometrist as well as a fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, which means they specialize in vision therapy and neurovisual rehabilitation. I was wondering if you could give us a bit of an introduction and maybe some advice on our theme of protecting vision. 

    DR. JARROD DAVIES: Sure. I appreciate the opportunity to be on the call and I appreciate Madeline’s comments as well, and it is fun to hear the patient side of things as well. I am passionate about macular degeneration. I actually have a grandfather who has macular degeneration; so, there is a genetic disposition in my family and let me start with that, as far as something that needs to be talked about. It is very important that you communicate to your kids and your grandkids that you do have macular degeneration and that there is a genetic role to macular degeneration. It is also important to know your own family history and understand that role as well.

    Other risk factors include being Caucasian. As far as gender goes, females are more apt to [have] macular degeneration than males. The more birthdays you have the more likely you are to have macular degeneration—and I speak in terms of birthdays because I don’t like to talk about people’s age. Smoking is also a risk factor and prolonged exposure to the sun, as well. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stop smoking if you are smoking, and make sure you are actually getting annual eye exams. Certainly you are much better off if we can detect the problem early and be able to start counseling you and helping you through macular degeneration and counseling you on those things that may help you in your particular case.

    As Madeline mentioned, it is very important to use the Amsler Grid and make sure that you are self- monitoring. Maintaining a good diet is important and making sure that you are eating lots of leafy greens. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunglasses. So, those are all things that can be steps to take to address it and make sure you are preventing the macular degeneration from getting worse.

    GUY EAKIN: We’ve had two speakers talk about the Amsler Grid and I think maybe it’s because of my job, but I have dozens of Amsler Grids strewn throughout my life and those of the people around me. I see a lot of them out there. They have varying sizes and varying colors. The typical one is maybe the size of the palm of my hand with grids that are maybe spaced about the size of my pinkie nail. How do I know it is giving me the right information? What is the right way to use an Amsler Grid if they are so important? Dr. Davies could you let us know what the best way to use an Amsler Grid is for your patients?

    DR. JARROD DAVIES: Absolutely. So if you wear glasses, reading glasses, wear them while you use the Amsler Grid and make sure that the grid is about the same distance from your eyes as any other reading material that you would use. You want to do it one eye at a time. So you cover one eye and focus on the dot at the center of the grid. Then you look to see if any of the lines are wavy, or blurred, or distorted. All of the lines should be straight, every intersection should form a right angle, all the squares should be about the same size on the grid. You pay attention to if there are any dark areas and make sure you can see all of the corners and the sides of the grid. Make sure you test both eyes. So, test one eye and then repeat the same thing with the other eye. Any irregularity, you should make sure you talk to your doctor about. If you have doubts that you are using the right Amsler Grid, talk to your doctor as well and make sure you are using one that is appropriate. I know there is one that is available on the BrightFocus website. I think it is, A-M-S-L-E-R. I have used that one before and that one is a good Amsler Grid to print out on your own. Hopefully that answers the question.

    GUY EAKIN:  Absolutely. The take-homes I heard there, in particular, were make sure you don’t use it with both eyes. Check one eye at a time. I think one of the next questions I have—we are having a conversation about preventing AMD, and a lot of the people on the call right now probably already have some form of macular degeneration but may be worrying about their children. We know that maybe    40 percent of AMD cases, at least in the United States, are influenced by a particular mutation and a gene called CFH. That risk can clearly be passed from generation to generation. But, Madeline, after talking about these risk factors and hearing Dr. Davies talk about these risk factors, what are the approaches you take and what is it that you tell your children or loved ones about protecting your vision? You said a few of the things earlier in your talk, but when do you find the right time to talk to someone about AMD and protecting their vision?

    MADELINE: When do I find the right time? There is no right time. It is all the time and making sure they all have the Amsler Grid on the refrigerator. Making sure I encouraged them to use it and look at it because I can remember, prior to being diagnosed, having trouble as a teacher. My students would be working with graph paper and I would take my glasses on and off and think, “What’s wrong with my eyes? Is it just maybe I am tired?” I saw the distortion but didn’t know that it was a sign of macular degeneration way back five, six, seven years ago. I had no awareness, and that’s so important. Maybe, had I gone earlier and mentioned that, had I known it was a factor, I might have been able to save more of my vision with the treatments. Like I said, all of my kids—all of my children—have it on their refrigerator and I talk to them all of the time. They are always asking me how I am doing, and how my eyes are, and how the treatments are going. So, there is no right or wrong time. It is whenever you can.   

    GUY EAKIN:  Well, thank you. Certainly that helps some people get an encouragement to have that dialogue with the people they care about in their lives. I want to remind people, if you have a question you want to pose to our speakers then press *3 and that will take you temporarily out of the call. You will talk to one of our operators and they will take down the question and return you into the call.

    Dr. Davies, we have often heard about the AREDS vitamin formula for macular degeneration and it helps people with AMD protect their vision. Particularly, if they are at the intermediate stages. I recently saw at a conference a presentation from a BrightFocus-funded investigator who suggests that Asian diets lessen risks. These are studies that undoubtedly need to be repeated before you’ll see them in textbooks, but they stressed consuming whole grains, fruits and vegetables, seafood, and limiting red meat. I’m curious for you, in your practice, what are the other foods or vitamins beyond that AREDS formula that you talk to your patients about? What’s going on in those foods, and what foods should we be eating if we are trying to protect our vision?

    DR. JARROD DAVIES: Sure. The biggest thing I usually talk to patients about is eating more vegetables because I don’t think anyone eats enough vegetables. Mostly, in the AREDS formula, we look at the vitamins they are putting in and the vitamins that are included in there are in your fruits and vegetables. lutein and zeaxanthin (which are in the AREDS2 formula) are mostly in your leafy green vegetables. I think that if people would eat five to seven servings of vegetables a day, then they would be a lot better off. I think that is kind of that Asian diet, more than the grains and vegetables. We certainly don’t have those same habits in the United States.

    GUY EAKIN:  By and large, unfortunately we don’t. Me included, unfortunately. Are there others that you have in your list of preferred foods to recommend?

    DR. JARROD DAVIES: In addition to leafy greens, usually I am telling people follow the current government diet. When I was young the government had the food square. Basically, one corner of it was fruits and vegetables, one corner of it was grains, one corner of it was meats, and one corner of it was dairy. They have since gone to a pyramid and now to a plate. Their message with the plate is that half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. I think that a much easier way to think of things is to look at your plate and see. Is at least half of it fruits and vegetables? Are we limiting the amount of meats we eat? And the fruits and vegetables—you want to eat ones that are dark and rich in color, and a nice variety as well. I don’t necessarily recommend any specific fruits and vegetables. I do tell people that spinach has a lot of lutein and zeaxanthin in it, which is in the AREDS2 study. That’s probably the highest concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin, is spinach. I don’t necessarily recommend any exact specifics. More just, making sure at least half of what you eat is fruits and vegetables

    GUY EAKIN:  As our caller questions begin to come in, we did have a question from Irene in California and I should have said, based on the question, it is probably sunny California. She asked if it is okay to lie in the sun with her eyes closed but no sunglasses. So, maybe taking a nap on the beach. Is that bad? Does the eyelid provide enough protection from the UV rays?

    JARROD DAVIES: You know, that is a great question. There is only one study that I know of that talks about how much the eyelid protects from UV rays, and it does pretty well. However, the problem is that your eyelid is very susceptible to skin cancer as well, because it is a thin layer of skin. So, UV rays are not the greatest thing for your eyelid either. Even if we take that one study that says that it is blocking most of the UV light, we should keep in mind that it’s not just about the UV light that gets in your eye but also the UV light that gets on your eyelid too. I generally don’t like to rely on just one study for facts. We want to make sure there are multiple studies within that same area, but we think, based on that one study that it blocks somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of the UV. Again, we would be just as concerned about the UV that is hitting the eyelid. On top of that, you are probably not keeping your eyes closed all of the time when you are in the sun.

    GUY EAKIN: If I am going to put on these sunglasses and I am going to go out and buy myself a new pair of sunglasses, what am I looking for? How do I select the right type?

    JARROD DAVIES: The best thing to do is go to a good ophthalmic shop that you know is going to provide quality sunglasses. I would definitely not buy your glasses from the Dollar Store because we don’t know if those have the appropriate UV blocking in them; even if they say it, sometimes they don’t. In general, most sunglasses that you buy are going to block UV. The best way to find out for sure is to talk to your optometrist and make sure that the sunglasses that you are buying are good quality. 

    GUY EAKIN: I would like to encourage people as they are submitting questions to remember we are trying to keep to a theme of prevention today. If you have questions that are on other topics, I would either encourage you to look at some of the transcripts of other calls that we have had or just call into our 800 number. We would be happy to answer some of those questions offline: 1–800–437–2423. If you have a question about prevention and helping to control macular degeneration, then go ahead and press *3 to submit that question to our operators.

    While we are waiting for more of those questions to come in I will ask a question to Madeline about how we adhere and make sure we are taking full advantage of what has been prescribed to us—adherence to our treatment plan. We know from studies that vision is best preserved and is monitored if we go to our appointments on time and on a regular basis. For a lot of people, that is more easily said than done. I am curious if you have had barriers that get in the way of your getting to your eye care provider and if there is anything that you have done in your life that you’ve found beneficial to overcoming that barrier and helping you get to the doctors to help prevent that vision loss.  

    MADELINE: Yes, there was a period of time where I had a hard time getting someone to take me there. So I was driving myself and driving myself home after these injections which I found really difficult to do. I finally got a friend of mine, a neighbor of a neighbor, and she takes me down and brings me back or I have a family member drop me off and pick me up after the appointment if they aren’t working. That was a pretty big barrier for me—getting back and forth—because the doctor that I dealt with was almost an hour away from my home. So, that was hard. I did find a doctor who was nearby one of my daughter’s homes, so I was able to drive myself home. But, getting someone to take you and bring you back makes it a lot more comfortable for you because—not that you are in a great deal of pain but you are uncomfortable, and you need to close your eyes, and you need to rest. That was my biggest barrier, getting back and forth.   

    GUY EAKIN: I’ve heard so many people talk about how they have relied on their friends and family, and to great advantage. It is of course, what many of those family members want to be able to do—to help. Dr. Davies in your community are there other resources that are available to help people get to your appointments?

    JARROD DAVIES: There are some other resources as far as companies that will pick you up and bring you to the appointment, and make sure they take you home. We do see a lot of family members helping though, and it is certainly preferable (if you have family members) if you have them come with you. Sometimes there are things that they need to hear as well.

    GUY EAKIN: This question will have to go to Dr. Davies as well. We have many patients that see a temporary improvement right after the therapeutic injections and that temporary improvement, as “temporary” suggests, does disappear. I am curious if there is anything a patient can do to prolong those transient improvements in vision?

    JARROD DAVIES: That’s a great question, as well. I certainly think that all of the preventative measures we have talked about can help. Many times with the injections, it’s a case-by-case basis because everyone responds slightly differently to those injections. There is certainly room for more research in that area and the more we can do to understand it, the better. As the medications improve that we inject, that certainly is going to change things as well.

    GUY EAKIN: Let’s move on. We have a question coming from Gay in California who is asking an opinion about OLP lenses that block out blue light and are advertised to help prevent macular degeneration from progressing. Do you have an opinion about the blocking, about the role of blue light, and whether or not it is worth trying to block out?

    JARROD DAVIES: Yes, there is actually a lot of interesting research right now in blue light. When we talk about blue light, it is usually the light that is coming from television screens, iPads, tablets, telephones—excuse me cell phones now. Because we have so much more screen time than we used to, we are certainly looking into it more and learning more about it. But yes, the current research is showing that blue light actually does contribute to macular degeneration. Some of these new technologies that are out, and there are several different ones that do it—several different companies make those blue-light blocking lenses. I am actually starting to recommend those, even to kids, because kids are starting to spend so much time in front of the screen. I don’t think it will hurt anyone to use them at all. It certainly is something that is looking promising as another risk prevention.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, there you have it. We are happy to hear about that. We certainly want to be able to include and add to the information that we have on our website about preventative strategies. That’s one that I think has been not as well understood in the past. We do have another question coming in from Loretta from Pennsylvania. We throw around a lot of big words and this one is just a definition. She is asking, “Have you heard of “phytonutrients” and what do you know of their results?” We have spoken about a few phytonutrients earlier, like lutein and zeaxanthin. Could you give us a definition to help people who are trying to learn about the disease work through this alphabet soup?

    JARROD DAVIES: Sure; phytonutrients—the term phyto actually comes from the Greek word for plant—are basically fruits and vegetables—anything that comes from a plant—whole grains, nuts, beans, and there are tons of different phytonutrients. One of them is carotenoids. That’s probably the most popular. There are about 200 different carotenoids, and lutein and zeaxanthin are part of that carotenoids group. So, again, coming to the fruits and vegetables, you want to make sure you are getting enough of those because those are nutrients that come only from plants, and there is no other way to get them.

    GUY EAKIN: Betty from Indiana is asking a very general question about, “Can you describe the eye injections that Madeline was referring to?” What goes into these? What are they injecting into our eyes for macular degeneration, Dr. Davies?

    JARROD DAVIES: Sure; there are a number of what we call anti-VEGF medications. Basically, they decrease the amount of new blood vessel growth, so that it is just an anti-VEGF group. The actual injections are called intravitreal injections and they actually go into the globe of the eye. As Madeline said earlier, it is kind of scary sounding, and I’m sure Madeline could answer a little bit more about her feelings when she goes in. Basically, they usually have you look up and inject it into the lower part, below your pupil, below your cornea, into the white part of your eye, which is the sclera. And the vitreal, the reason it is called intravitreal, is because it is going into the internals of your eye—the jelly-like substance that’s inside your eye is called vitreous. So, that’s where we are injecting it into.

    GUY EAKIN: Well Madeline, can you add anything? What’s been your experience with those eye injections?

    MADELINE: As long as your doctor numbs your eye, there are several different drops that they put in—a gel and a liquid—they give it enough time and then all you’re feeling really, is a little bit of pressure, a little bit of a sting from the medication they put on the eye. Then from the injection you feel a little bit of pressure. If you are feeling more than that, if you are feeling extreme pain or burning, talk to your doctor. Tell your eye doctor. If he doesn’t help you, then move on and find somebody who does! There is no reason for you to feel so much discomfort. It should be uncomfortable but not terrible, something that can be tolerated. It only takes a second—it’s one, two, three, and it’s over with. As I said, numbing the eye is very, very important. A good retinal specialist who knows what he is doing will make you very comfortable.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, thank you. Elsie from Pennsylvania is asking questions about what else can be done that is more therapeutic, but she has a question in there about using a small handheld computer. We talked a little bit about the blue light that comes off of phones and iPads, things like that. Is there anything else about maybe small print or those small computers that might be damaging for our eyesight? Dr. Davies, would you mind taking that one?

    JARROD DAVIES: Sure. You certainly want to use something that is comfortable to read. Some of that has to do with the pair of eyeglasses you are wearing. If you don’t feel comfortable reading a certain sized text then you should talk to your eye doctor, optometrist or ophthalmologist about maybe changing your prescription and making sure the size text is appropriate for you. As far as harmful things coming from that computer, the only thing that we know of is that blue light. There are certainly some studies that show that you actually get more dry-eyed when you sit staring at a screen, in front of a computer. We actually blink a little less when we look at a computer screen. That is something to consider as well. I think frequent breaks and just appropriate use, in that we don’t want to spend a lot of screen time, is definitely merited.

    GUY EAKIN: There is an amazing body of work out there also suggesting that many of us these days are reading books on tablets and reading them at night and that some of these wavelengths of light can actually disrupt how we sleep or the comfort of our sleep. Madeline, I think, had another comment she wanted to interject here. I didn’t mean to interrupt here, Madeline.

    MADELINE: I just wanted to add to what the doctor said. I’ve had to revert to Kindle to read, because I love to read. In the Kindle you can enlarge the print which makes it easier to see. I’ve since ordered this sheath that goes over the top of the Kindle which cuts back on the glare considerably. So it really has helped me a lot, and if I’m working on my computer there are some buttons that you can push to enlarge the print, which also helps. I find that in too much light, I can’t see. A cloudy, overcast day is my best time. I can see very well on a cloudy, overcast day, believe it or not—but not raining. This shield over my Kindle, I’m going to look into it and see if I can also get it on my phone and any other devices that you might have to use. I don’t know, I’m not knowledgeable enough to say that it cuts out the blue light, I just know that it has cut out the glare and helps me to see better.

    GUY EAKIN: Dr. Davies, if you had something you wanted to insert on the last question please go ahead.

    JARROD DAVIES: Sure. Just finishing up that last question, I appreciate your saying that the light does interfere with sleep because it definitely does. When we are in the dark, our eyes actually signal from darkness to produce melatonin to help us sleep. Being in front of a screen when we are getting ready to go to bed and having a lot of light going towards our eyes, does interfere with that pattern for sure.

    GUY EAKIN: We are starting to get to a point where we are running out of time here today. We want to take a moment to say thank you so much to Dr. Davies and Madeline for taking the time to speak with us today. Thank you to everyone who joined the call and asked us questions. We will be posting a recording and a transcript of this call, along with all our other calls, on the website. You can listen to and download past chats on iTunes and SoundCloud. You can also like us on Facebook and use that as a resource for finding out about other things that are going on in the internet community around macular degeneration.

    Our next chat will be on “Creating a Safe Home and Living with Low Vision,” and that will be on Wednesday, August 27; that will be 1 p.m. EDT, 10 a.m. PST. We do encourage you to register and submit questions in advance, and we will send you an email reminder if you do so. You can register for that August chat right now and request free low-vision materials, like our Amsler Grid, by calling us at BrightFocus at 1–800–437–2423 or visiting our website at That’s dot O-R-G. Again, our phone number is 1–800–437–2423 or website.

    We do love to get your feedback on these chats by asking one short question at the end of each chat. The question, just like the last time, is how do you rate this telephone call? Press 1 if it’s “very helpful”; 2 if it’s “somewhat helpful”; and press 3 if it “wasn’t helpful at all.” While we’re waiting for that, I just want to remind you that the BrightFocus Chats are a monthly call, and to find out about those upcoming chats just give us a call or check our website for updates. We do have a number of free informational materials—I mentioned the Amsler Grid. We also have brochures, one entitled Macular Degeneration The Essential Facts. To request these copies, you can find them at or at the telephone number I mentioned earlier, 1–800–437–2423. Thank you, everyone, for your feedback, and if you would like to leave a comment after the call just stay on the line. Thanks from all of us at BrightFocus Foundation and have a great day. 

    The preceding transcript was edited for clarity and brevity.

    The information provided here is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical, dietary, and/or exercise advice. Any medications or supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical products or therapies.

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