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Most people are familiar with the natural changes that occur in the human eye as it ages; the lens becomes less flexible, close objects cannot be focused, and reading glasses or bifocals are required around the age of forty. Another common ailment is the formation of cataracts, or the clouding of the lens. These malfunctions are easily corrected in most patients, and have become commonplace in our society. However another, more devastating condition has become the focus of many visual scientists around the world. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition whereby the nerve cells of the retina die in some older adults, and is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) continues to be the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years of age, and in the United States alone, this population age range is expected to reach 70 million by the year 2050. The repercussions of these predictions will be devastating as individuals who have planned a lifetime for their "Golden Years" are faced with a low quality of life and possible financial insecurity. The effects will not only have an impact on society as a whole, but will be mentally degrading to the individuals as they are robbed of their ability to function independently, diminishing their self-esteem. Even more distressing is that at this time there is neither an effective treatment, nor a known cure.

The identification of the gene or genes that predispose individuals to AMD, the discovery of the environmental factors responsible for macular degeneration, and targeted research efforts into the diseases of all structures of the human eye are of paramount concern. It is the obligation of the IRRF to assist those scientists who are actively working in these areas, and to provide support for peripheral retinal research that ultimately will accelerate the outcome of discovery.

Listed below is the latest news relating to the IRRF.