Principal Investigator of Latino Eye Health Study to Speak at September 8 AEVR Briefing on “Vision Health Disparities Research”

August 10, 2004
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
[email protected]

Principal Investigator of Latino Eye Health Study to Speak at September 8 AEVR Briefing on “Vision Health Disparities Research”

(Washington, DC) Today, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) announced that Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H., the Principal Investigator (PI) on the recently released Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES), will be the featured speaker at a Capitol Hill Briefing entitled Vision Health Disparities Research and to be held Wednesday, September 8, 2004, from 12 Noon -1:15 pm in Rayburn House Office Building Room B-369.

The LALES study, sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI), the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHHD), and Research to Prevent Blindness, is the largest, most comprehensive epidemiological analysis of visual impairment in Latinos conducted in the United States. The full results, released on August 9 (and published in the June, July, and August 2004 issues of the journal Ophthalmology ), show that Latinos had high rates of open-angle glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, an eye complication of diabetes. Regarding the latter, nearly one-in-five individuals with diabetes was newly diagnosed during the LALES clinical exam and, overall, almost half of the study population with diabetes had diabetic retinopathy.

“Latinos, compared with other ethnic groups in the United States, have a high prevalence of low vision, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma,” reported Dr. Varma in releasing the study. Varma, who serves as an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine’s Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California, will present full study results at the AEVR Briefing. He will also describe another study on which he serves as a PI, the Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study (MEPEDS), designed to determine the prevalence of blindness, visual impairment, and ocular disease in children from four racial groups: African American, Asian American, Latino and White.

The Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Congress and the public about the importance of federal funding for eye and vision research. AEVR is the first organization of its kind to bring together stakeholders in the research community-including ophthalmic and optometric professionals, consumer advocates, and manufacturers-to speak with a unified voice about the economic and societal value of eye and vision research. Visit AEVR’s Web site at