Researchers at the Jules Stein Eye Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles are continuing to recruit participants for a nationwide study investigating the heredity and exposure risk factors that lead to the development of age-related macular degeneration.
The GARM II Study
The goal of the Genetics of Age-Related Maculopathy (GARM II) Study is:
… to determine how the combination of genetic, dietary, health, and exposure factors such as light, diet, and smoking contributes to one’s risk of developing this condition. This is not a treatment study and does not involve any preventive therapies or direct treatments of age-related maculopathy (ARM).
We aim to find some insights for future preventive strategies through a group of people who are at a higher than normal risk for developing ARM (because of their family history) and their partners who represent the risk in the general population. Because ARM is a complex disease and is affected by many factors, we also want to know how other medical conditions may be associated or not with this eye condition.
More about the GARM II Study
The GARM II study is a continuation of an ongoing 18-year research effort (the GARM I Study) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a co-sponsor of the current study along with the National Institutes of Health. GARM I has been instrumental in identifying the variations in a person’s genetic information that can lead to either an increased or decreased risk in developing ARM.
GARM II is continuing this genetic investigation among some participants of the GARM I Study, along with new study subjects. GARM II is seeking to enroll the following groups of study participants:
- ARM at-risk individuals: A group of 1,500 participants (from 49 to 65 years old) who have at least one parent with ARM. Individuals with ARM-affected parents and relatives have a substantially higher risk (6 to 12-fold) of developing ARM than the general population. They will be followed via [retinal photographs] every two years, a saliva or blood sample for genetic testing, and periodic we-based questionnaires to assess their risks for the development of ARM.
- Partners/Spouses of ARM at-risk individuals: A group of 1,500 participants (from 49 to 65 years old) who are the spouses/partners of individuals with ARM-affected parents. Like the at-risk individuals, they will be followed via [retinal photographs] every two years, a saliva or blood sample for genetic testing, and periodic web-based questionnaires to assess their risks for the development of ARM.
- ARM-affected individuals and relatives: Up to 4,000 individuals who have experienced vision loss from ARM and have at least one brother or sister who also has experienced vision loss from ARM. In addition, prospective participants must have at least one adult child (from 49 to 65 years old) who also wishes to participate in the study. These participants will be followed via web-based questionnaires, a saliva or blood sample for genetic testing, prior clinical documentation from eye care professionals, and ongoing follow-up for reported changes in ARM status.
Study participants will communicate with the GARM II research staff through a protected and confidential website to complete a number of questionnaires during the course of the study. Questions will include medical history, ocular history and visual symptoms, family history, smoking, dietary supplements, and light exposure.
For genetic analyses, participants will mail in self-collected saliva samples in special containers. Eye photographs and eye health records are sent to the research center from local sources through the Internet. Individuals are not expected to come to the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA in order to participate.
For more information, including the recruitment process, timelines, and eligibility criteria, you can visit the GARM II website at the Jules Stein Eye Institute; contact Dr. Michael B. Gorin or a research coordinator at email@example.com; or call the GARM II Study Center at 1-800-286-8581, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm PST.