Acupuncture and new emerging physical therapies e.g the use of microelectrical stimulation (MES) and photobiomodulation (PBM) therapies are now receiving increasing amount of attention as alternative treatment applications for a host of eye diseases that are related to progressive vision loss leading to blindness. These include Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG), Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and the Degenerative Diseases of the retina – Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Retinits Pigmentosa (RP) and Juvenile Macular Dystrophy (Stargarts Disease).
After uncorrected refractive error and cataract AMD is the third leading cause of blindness worldwide and the primary leading cause of central vision loss in the Western world. Its prevalence is expected to increase as a consequence of an aging population such that it is estimated that close to 288 million people worldwide will have severe visual impairment or blindness due to AMD by 2040. Glaucoma is the fourth leading cause of blindness and there is an important increase in persons with visual loss diagnosed with DR the most important complication to Diabetic Disease.
For AMD the failure in truly understanding the pathogenesis of the disease, the perceived lack of effective therapies, and the increasing incidence of disease all underscore a significant unmet and future need. There is therefore a clear need for a concerted effort to bring forth long term clinical studies addressing the effectiveness of emerging and traditional, alternative and other therapies that can be compared to current industry driven randomized controlled studies financed by the pharmaceutical chemical industry.
The Kari Monsen Eye Research Foundation (KERD) has as its main mission to promote the development of high quality clinical studies that evaluate the emerging treatments such as Transpalpebral Electrical Stimulation (TPES) and Photo Bio Modulation for these chronic diseases. We will also support the development and conduct of quality studies for more traditonal treatment modalities as Acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine. We will support the mobilization of financial and technical resource from a diverse group of interests under an international network of epidemiologists, clinical reseachers and practisioners and their patients.