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Researchers Study Improving Life for Those with Macular Degeneration

Monday, August 17, 2009

University of Rochester Medical Center researchers will study whether two education programs improve the way people function in everyday life with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible blindness and severe vision loss among older adults.

One education program focuses on learning from the past and paying attention to current medical needs. The other focuses on solving current problems and planning for the future.

The researchers plan to recruit 400 people to participate in the study. To take part in the study, a person must be at least 60 years old.

Silvia Sörensen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry and the principal investigator for the study, received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to conduct the study.

“People with age-related macular degeneration face great challenges. We want to determine whether training them to do more effective problem-solving can help them deal more skillfully with the challenges and lead more satisfying lives,” Sörensen said.

Sörensen is conducting the study in partnership with the University of Rochester Eye Institute, the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) and Retina Associates of Western New York.

The 16-week program will include a low vision assessment, four weekly vision education classes, four assessment interviews provided in the home, eight weekly sessions of in-home training and four in-home follow-up interviews over two years after completion of the program.

Information about the study also is available on the Web at

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