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American Health Assistance Foundation announces latest grants for innovative vision research
Date:7/7/2011

Clarksburg, MDThe American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF), a nonprofit organization with a history of funding cutting-edge research on age-related diseases, announced today that it has awarded 22 new grants totaling nearly $2.2 million to scientists worldwide who are studying glaucoma and macular degeneration. The two conditions are the leading causes of irreversible vision loss and blindness in the U.S.

"With these grants, we continue our annual track record of pinpointing some of the world's most promising research, and funding early-stage, innovative projects on these two devastating diseases," said Stacy Pagos Haller, AHAF's President and CEO. "Over the years, AHAF has awarded more than $115 million to advance research on age-related degenerative conditions, including $31.5 million in grants for glaucoma and macular degeneration research," she noted. Past AHAF grants supported the early work of two Nobel Prize-winning scientists.

"This year's vision researchers, like their predecessors, are using ground-breaking ideas to understand what causes these diseases and how to treat them," said Guy Eakin, Ph.D., AHAF's Vice President for Scientific Affairs.

"For glaucoma, a condition involving irreparable damage to the optic nerve, scientists are searching for clues to early detection," noted Eakin. Individuals are often unaware that they have glaucoma until it has caused permanent visual damage. "Right now, researchers in the U.S. and around the world are getting tantalizingly close to measuring changes in the brain and eye that were previously difficult to spot. Improved testing will lead to earlier and more effective treatments to prevent blindness," said Eakin.

Early detection is critical for all persons with glaucoma but particularly important in populations with a high incidence of the disease. African Americans, for example, are more likely than other populations to get glaucoma, develop it earlier in life,
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Contact: Alice L. Kirkman
akirkman@ahaf.org
301-556-9349
AHAF-American Health Assistance Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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