Dr. Seddon is widely recognized for her groundbreaking research on nutritional factors and the association with AMD, as well as her novel discoveries regarding genetic, biologic, and environmental factors associated with macular degeneration.
Dr. Seddon’s special research expertise is in evaluating and discovering the causes of macular degeneration, and the implications for prevention and cures. She has had continuous funding from the NIH and several retina foundations for her work in both the genetic components of this disease, as well as the environmental causes.
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.
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
American Board of Ophthalmology
Professional Honors and Awards
2013 – Distinguished Alumni Fellow Award, University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association
2013 – Philip S. Hench Distinguished Alumnus Award, Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2013 – Women in Ophthalmology Scientific Honorary Award and Lecture, Snowmass, CO
2013 – Women in Ophthalmology and American Medical Association Mentoring Award
2014 – Kreissig Award from Euretina, the European Macula, Retina, Vitreous Society
2017 – Mildred Weisenfeld Award, ARVO
2017 – Fight for Sight Award, ARVO
2017 – Lucien Howe Medal Award
American Society of Retina Specialists
Dr. Seddon has published more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific articles during her career. Here are some important examples:
Seddon JM, Ajani UA, Sperduto RD, et al. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E and advanced age-related macular degeneration. A multicenter study. JAMA 1994; 272:1413-1420. (Seddon JM was principal investigator of this study, designed the diet questionnaire and analyzed the data.)
Seddon JM, Willett WC, Speizer FE, Hankinson SE. A prospective study of cigarette smoking and age-related macular degeneration in women. JAMA 1996; 276:1141-1146. (Seddon JM initiated the eye component of the study and wrote the grant.)
Seddon JM, Cote J, Davis N, Rosner B. Progression of age-related macular degeneration: Association with dietary fat, transunsaturated fat, nuts, and fish intake. Arch Ophthalmol 2003; 121:1728-1737. (Seddon JM enrolled patients from her clinic population, designed the study and forms, collected the data, and supervised the analyses.)
Seddon JM, Cote J, Page W, Aggen SH, Neale MC. The U.S. age-related macular degeneration twin study: relative roles of genetic and environmental influences. Arch Ophthalmol 2005; 123:323-327.
Raychaudhuri S, Iartchouk O, Chin K, Tan PL, Tai A, Ripke S, Gowrisankar S, Vemuri S, Montgomery K, Yu Y, Reynolds R, Zack DJ, Campochiaro B, Campochiaro P, Katsanis N, Daly MJ, Seddon JM. A rare penetrant mutation in CFH confers high risk of age-related macular degeneration. Nature Genetics 2011; 43(12):1232-36.
Seddon JM, Yu Y, Miller EC, Reynolds R, Tan PL, Gowrisankar S, Goldstein JI, Triebwasser M, Anderson HE, Zerbib J, Kavanagh D, Souied E, Katsanis N, Daly MJ, Atkinson JP, Raychaudhuri S. Rare variants in CFI, C3 and C9 are associated with high risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration. Nat Genet 2013; 45:1366-1370.
Sobrin L, Seddon JM. Nature and Nurture-Genes and Environment-Predict Onset and Progression of Macular Degeneration. Prog Ret Eye Res 2014; 40:1-15.
Merle BM, Silver RE, Rosner B, Seddon JM. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet, genetic susceptibility, and progression to advanced macular degeneration: a prospective cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr 2015; 102(5):1196-206.
Wagner EK, Raychaudhuri S, Villalonga MB, Java A, Triebwasser MP, Daly MJ, Atkinson JP, Seddon JM. Mapping rare, deleterious mutations in Factor H: Association with early onset, drusen burden, and lower antigenic levels in familial AMD. Sci Reports 2016; 6:31531. doi: 10.1038/srep31531.
Ferrara D, Silver RE, Louzada RN, Novais EA, Collins GK, Seddon JM. Optical Coherence Tomography Features Preceding the Onset of Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2017; 58:3519-3529.
Thompson JT, Seddon JM. Eat Right For Your Sight: Simple, Tasty Recipes That Help Reduce the Risk of Vision Loss from Macular Degeneration. American Macular Degeneration Foundation. The Experiment, LLC. New York, NY; 2015.
Participation in Studies
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
Boston: 617-636-9000 or 617-636-4600