17 | ENE | 2020
The Mexican ophthalmologist fighting visual loss
Macular degeneration is not a disease, but a degenerative process of the retina - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL

The Mexican ophthalmologist fighting visual loss

Mexico City
Verónica Dávalos Rodríguez
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Gerardo Ledesma Gil was chosen to develop research about macular degeneration through the Global Ophthalmology Awards Program

Mexican ophthalmologist and retinologist, Gerardo Ledesma Gil, was chosen to develop research about macular degeneration through the Global Ophthalmology Awards Program (GOAP).

Ledesma Gil, from the Conde de Valenciana Institute of Ophthalmology - ABC Santa Fe Medical Center, won the Academic Training category, with his research on the factors associated with the development of macular degeneration and cardiovascular disease.

"The knowledge that is going to be generated will serve us all, not only in Mexico, the idea is to disseminate it and to be of global use; we hope our results are good," said the doctor.

Now, the development of retinal research began, with the help of Dr. R. Theodore Smith and Dr. K. Bailey Freund, both world-renowned ophthalmologists and retinologists.

About the research, he said that they seek "a relationship between macular degeneration and cardiovascular problems, scientific publications have been written on this subject, however, it is not clear and we are investigating the link between these two."

The project will be carried out in the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai and in Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York.

"We are going to check a large group of patients, dividing them into subjects and controls. All will undergo a complete ophthalmological review, as well as laboratory and cabinet studies to try to better understand if there is a link between these two pathologies, " he explained.

He pointed out that macular degeneration is not a disease, but a degenerative process of the retina, it is a serious problem worldwide and it's the main cause of visual loss in people over 50.

He further explained that the retina "is a layer that we have inside the eye and is responsible for transforming light into electrical stimuli, said stimuli are sent to the brain through the optic nerve for interpretation."

While the macula is defined as "the central part of the retina, which gives us fine vision and precision" and macular degeneration is when it begins to accumulate waste material, which is toxic for the retina.

He said that the retina "thins and atrophies, sometimes leading to bleeding and scarring… central vision is lost, significantly affecting the patient's visual field."

Dr. Gerardo Ledesma hopes that his results will help to expand the panorama of this ocular problem.

"For me to be able to work with patients and try to help them keep their vision is really an honor and I enjoy what I do every day," said the ophthalmologist.

The projects supported by the program are divided into two categories: medical training and research and academic training, in the latter, Dr. Ledesma was part of the four researchers selected worldwide.

The Global Ophthalmology Awards Program (GOAP) was designed in 2012 to support innovative research in retinal diseases worldwide, and awards prices from up to USD $50,000.

Since then, 70 grants have been awarded, for a total of USD $3.5 million, with the purpose of improving eye care and preserving vision for patients around the world.


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