Jan 31, 2024


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 55, affecting approximately 2.5 million Canadians. In AMD, central vision is affected, making it harder to do activities like reading, driving, and distinguishing faces. In February, AMD Awareness Month, we’re sharing some of the trailblazing AMD research that Fighting Blindness Canada (FBC) is supporting.

DR. Matthew Quinn (Ottawa Hospital Research hospital)

Changes in the microbiome can be caused by inflammation and have been linked to wet AMD. Dr. Quinn is using population-level databases to determine if there is an association between common clinical events that disrupt the microbiome and AMD progression. This knowledge may help to develop new treatments or prevention strategies for AMD. Dr. Quinn is one of our recently announced Clinician Scientist Emerging Leader awardees and he explains,

“We are learning it is critical to understand the links between systemic health and vision loss in order to develop new treatments and optimize care for patients with age-related macular degeneration. This award will fund research that will allow us to better characterize how systemic health events impact risk of macular degeneration progression.”

DR. Andras NAgy (Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute)

In wet AMD blood vessels can grow uncontrollably and leak fluid into the eye, damaging retinal cells and causing vision loss. Anti-VEGF injections into the eye can reduce blood vessel growth, but do not restore vision caused by lost RPE cells. Dr. Nagy is trying to develop a vision-restoring cell therapy for advanced AMD. His team is testing if new retina cells that act as anti-VEGF producing factories can help restore vision and control blood vessel growth.

Dr. Sachdev Sidhu (University of Waterloo)

Image is of Dr. Sachdev Sidhu

The blood-retinal barrier is important for proper retinal function and can be disturbed in eye diseases like AMD and diabetic retinopathy (DR) leading to vision loss. Dr. Sidhu has developed a new antibody treatment (EYE103) which has the potential to restore the blood retinal barrier and help improve vision for those with AMD or DR. With funding from Fighting Blindness Canada, Dr. Sidhu has now moved this treatment into a Phase 1 clinical trial to test if the potential treatment is safe.

To learn more about FBC-funded research, visit

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