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Ben Shaberman

As the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Director, Science Communications, Ben writes science and research articles for the Foundation’s website, newsletters and Eye on the Cure blog. Before joining the Foundation in 2003, he worked as a staff writer for health, long-term care and hospice care organizations. Ben’s freelance essays and commentaries have been published by a variety of national newspapers and magazines.

The following articles were authored by Ben Shaberman

Treatments for Retinal Diseases are Leading to Therapies for the Brain

An image of the brainThe retina—the thin, fragile layer of tissue lining the back of the eye—gives us the invaluable gift of vision. It works like film or digital sensors in a camera by converting the light that enters our eye into electrical signals. Those signals are sent over the optic nerve to the back of the brain, where they are used to create the images we see.
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Past Sun Exposure Increases AMD Risk

FFB staff members taking preventive measuresIf you’re a young or middle-aged adult who enjoys being outside in the bright sunshine, you’re probably not thinking about the risk for going blind from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But according to a new study published in the journal Retina, you should be.
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Donated Eyes Help Researchers Better Understand Retinal Diseases

a retina affected by RPMany people with retinal conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration don’t think they can donate their eyes after they’ve passed away. They can’t imagine anyone would want eyes that didn’t work well. But in reality, affected eyes are in big demand.
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A Surprising Number of Carrier Females are Affected by X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa

Calico catX-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) is an inherited retinal disease causing significant vision loss, sometimes complete blindness, in males. Females are often considered to be unaffected carriers of the condition, with a 50 percent chance of passing XLRP to their sons.
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VISIONS 2015 – Dr. Shannon Boye Receives FFB Award for Excellence in Gene-Therapy Research

Shannon Boye accepting the awardWhen it comes to developing innovative gene therapies for retinal diseases, few researchers are doing more than Shannon Boye, Ph.D., and her laboratory staff of 10 at the University of Florida. In addition to advancing a gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) caused by GUCY2D mutations toward a human study, Dr. Boye and her team are enhancing gene-delivery systems by making them safer to administer and able to carry larger payloads than current systems.
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ARVO 2015 Highlight: AMD Gene Therapy Performs Encouragingly in Human Study

an AMD eyeWhile treatments such as Lucentis®, Avastin®, and Eylea® have been saving and restoring vision for people with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) over the last several years, they have a significant drawback: The therapies require regular injections into the eye—in some cases, monthly—for the life of the patient.
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ARVO 2015 Highlight: New Research Boosts Prospects for Saving Vision with RdCVF

Dr. SahelAn eye doctor could preserve meaningful vision in people with advanced retinitis pigmentosa (RP) by saving just five percent of their cones, the cells concentrated in the central retina enabling us to read, recognize colors and see in lighted conditions.
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What Everyone with a Retinal Disease Should Know about Vitamin A

blue eyeIf you think of your retinas as the engines that power your vision, then vitamin A is their fuel. Without vitamin A in our diets, we wouldn’t see.
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CME – What It Is, and Why People with Retinal Diseases Should Know About It

Dr. FishmanIn this Q&A, Gerald Fishman, M.D., a world-renowned clinical researcher and longstanding member of FFB’s Scientific Advisory Board, discusses cystoid macular edema (CME), a potentially damaging accumulation of fluid in the retina affecting up to 32 percent of people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and related conditions. It’s a complication that can make matters worse for retinas already fragile from degenerative disease. While diagnosis isn’t always straightforward, CME can be treated to minimize vision loss.
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A Stem-Cells Video for Kids (and Newbies of All Ages)

Animated videoGiven that inherited retinal diseases are often diagnosed in childhood, it’s only fitting that kids get the opportunity to learn about the promising research and emerging treatments under development to save and restore their vision. Of course, the biology and genetics can be difficult to understand for even an educated adult, so when something kid-friendly is produced, especially a video, we are eager to share it.
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