Eliot L. Berson, M.D., director of the Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations located at the Mass. Eye and Ear, recently received the Foundation Fighting Blindness Visionary Award. Mr. Gordon Gund, chairman of the Maryland-based Foundation Fighting Blindness, presented Dr. Berson with the award at the foundation's recent "Dining in the Dark" event at the Boston InterContinental Hotel.
Other recipients awarded include Massachusetts Governor Deval L.
Patrick and Joshua S. Boger, Ph.D., founder of Vertex Pharmaceuticals,
an international company headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.
The Visionary Award was presented to Dr. Berson for his important
role in research to advance the understanding of potentially blinding
diseases and for the development of the first treatment for retinitis
"Our studies have led to a better understanding of the causes of
hereditary retinal degenerations at the DNA level and also have led to
the first treatment for the common forms of retinitis pigmentosa. We
have found that a high-dose of vitamin A combined with an oily fish diet
and lutein will, on average, extend vision for up to 20 additional
years, thereby making it possible for many patients with retinitis
pigmentosa to see for their entire lives. We were also the first to show
that high-dose vitamin E supplementation aggravates the course of these
diseases," said Dr. Berson during his speech.