Ocular Pathology and Retina-Vitreous Disease, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Graduate Education, Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health
Tufts Medical Center, Ophthalmology
University of Pittsburgh
Professor of Ophthalmology, Tufts University School of Medicine
Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM is a retina specialist and genetic epidemiologist here at the New England Eye Center where she is the Founding Director of the Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Genetics Service. Dr. Seddon is a renowned practicing ophthalmologist and specializes in the evaluation and treatment of patients with all forms of macular degeneration and other retinal disorders. Dr. Seddon has received several awards, including honors from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and in September of 2014, the prestigious Kreissig Award from the European Retina, Macular and Vitreous Society. She is on Scientific Advisory Boards for macular degeneration foundations and has published over 250 peer-reviewed original scientific articles in high impact journals plus book chapters and reviews. Her research has been continuously supported for over 25 years by individual research grants from the National Institutes of Health, foundations, and philanthropy. She co-authored a cookbook, “Eat Right for Your Sight,” based on her discoveries of nutrients related to eye diseases, which was recently published.
Dr. Seddon began the Studies of Macular Degeneration and Other Eye Diseases in 1988. She primarily studies macular degeneration, Stargardt Disease, Best Disease, other macular dystrophies, and high myopia. Her research has helped to develop better treatments as well as establish ways to prevent macular degeneration and other eye diseases. There are now more than 6,000 subjects enrolled, including more than 500 families and nearly 1,000 identical and fraternal twins. She is recognized worldwide for her groundbreaking research on nutritional factors and their association with AMD, as well as for her novel discoveries regarding genetic, biologic, and genetic-environmental factors associated with early and late onset forms of macular degeneration. Dr. Seddon and her research team have been involved in the discovery of 15 genes related to macular degeneration.
Recent breakthroughs in the Seddon Laboratory include the discovery of new genes related to macular degeneration, including the discovery of new of rare genetic variants that strongly increase familial risk of AMD. These genes are now targets for new therapies. She has also shown that eating a healthy diet can partly overcome genetic susceptibility for the disease.
Dr. Seddon and her team initiated the development of many prediction models that combine genes and lifestyle factors related to macular degeneration, and validated the model. Dr. Seddon recently implemented her most recent prediction model for progression to advanced stage macular degeneration in the form of an online risk calculator. This calculator could be used in the future to examine personal risk factors as well as gain an estimate of individual risk for this disease.
Genetic variants related to AMD point to the underlying biology of the disease and can become therapeutic targets. A set of these markers known to be associated with AMD, along with knowledge of other non-genetic predictors (including age, sex, education, BMI, and smoking history) can be used to calculate a score associated with an individual probability of progressing to advanced disease. These probabilities can range from very low to very high, depending on the combination of individual risk factors. This knowledge can be useful for identifying high-risk individuals for lifestyle changes related to modifiable risk factors, selecting high-risk subjects for participation in clinical trials, and prescribing appropriate therapies.
Risk score models may also enhance patient management by clinicians, including advising on preventative measures, frequency of monitoring, assisting with the differential diagnosis of AMD and its subtypes, and possible diagnosis of treatable neovascular disease at an earlier stage. The risk calculator could also assist in the development of personalized medicine approaches for AMD.
If you are interested in participating in Dr. Seddon’s Studies of Macular Degeneration and Other Eye Diseases, click here for full details and contact information.
|Dr. Seddon's Office:|| 617-636-9000
|Patient Appointments:||Boston: 617-636-9000
New England Eye Center
260 Tremont Street
Phone: 617-636-4600 • Fax: 617-636-4866