The Dana Center For Preventive Ophthalmology
In general, research in the Dana Center focuses on improving knowledge of risk factors for ocular disease and public health approaches to the prevention of these diseases and their ensuing visual impairment and blindness worldwide. Some specific examples include:
- Estimation of the extent of clustering of ocular diseases such as trachoma and xerophthalmia within households and communities and the identification of risk factors associated with such clustering;
- Development of statistical methods for assessing progression of visual field loss in glaucoma using automated perimetry;
- Evaluation of the impact of vitamin A supplementation during pregnancy and infancy on birthweight and infant mortality in countries with endemic xerophthalmia and vitamin A deficiency;
- Identification of nutritional risk factors for the development and progression of age-related eye disease such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
- Community-based trials in Tanzania
- International Trachoma Study
The Dana Center is a World Health Organization Collaborating Center. Those interested in employment through WHO in blindness prevention should contact the following site:http://www.who.int/employment/en/
Studies at the Dana Center
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Cataract surgery does cure the blindness, but surgery is not available in many areas of the world. We have conducted several risk factor studies for cataract in various populations. Risk factors include smoking and exposure to ultraviolet light; vitamin E appears to be protective for some types of cataract. In particular, current smoking appears to be associated with progression of nuclear opacity. Stopping smoking may even have an immediate affect of not hastening progression.
A five year study on the impact of visual impairment on functional status among the elderly is beginning in Salisbury, Maryland. The goal of the project is to better characterize measures of visual function in the elderly, determine how antioxidants interact with ultraviolet light exposure in producing cataract and AMD, and determine risk factors for dry eye.
Opportunities at the Dana Center
The Dana Center Fellowship in Preventive Ophthalmology
This program is designed to help eye care professionals to develop skills in applying public health principles to blindness prevention. A one-year academic program assists the students in acquiring skills in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and the application of public health techniques worldwide. The program is offered every 3-4 years.