RTE’s Nationwide to broadcast from the Macular Pigment Research Group

Nationwide filming at WIT's Macular Pigment Research Group

Nationwide filming at WIT's Macular Pigment Research Group

Broadcast date:  Monday, 3 February 2014

Time:  7.00pm

Channel:  RTE One

RTE’s Nationwide comes from WIT next week when the programme focuses on preserving our eyesight and what steps can be taken to improve the quality of people’s lives by minimising the degenerative effects of age-related blindness.

'Nationwide' visits the Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG) based in the Vision Research Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology.  This research facility offers state-of-the-art vision testing laboratories and infrastructure and is the only one of its kind in the world.

Professor John Nolan introduces his research team who are conducting ground breaking clinical trials examining the role of nutritional supplements in visual performance and the prevention of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), a condition which can lead to blindness. AMD affects over 80,000 people in Ireland and costs the state up to €133 million per annum.

The subject was first aired on Nationwide back in 2009 when Nationwide's Helen McInerney spoke to people who were taking a dietary supplement linked with preserving vision.  In the Nationwide programme airing next week Helen interviews some of the people she originally spoke to five years ago.

For more information on MPRG and to volunteer for a research study, visit www.mprg.ie.

About MPRG
The mission of the Macular Pigment Research Group is to study the role of eye nutrition for vision and prevention of blindness.

The focus of the research concerns prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in people over 50 years of age, affecting 86,095 people in the Republic of Ireland, 500,000 people in the UK and over 12 million sufferers across Europe. This eye disease is particularly frustrating because it results in a loss of central vision. In other words, someone with AMD can see everything except what he or she is looking at, and is therefore unable to read, watch TV, drive, or recognise a loved one’s face. There is currently an epidemic of AMD, and the number of AMD sufferers will continue to increase because of the growing and ageing population.

The MPRG currently employs nine full-time researchers and is a multi-disciplinary team comprising vision scientists, nutritionists, biochemists, statisticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists.

The MPRG Principal Investigator, Professor John Nolan, has been researching the role of nutrition for vision for over a decade. His significant contribution to this area of research is reflected in his Fulbright Scholarship and European Research Council and Howard Foundation Fellowships. Professor Stephen Beatty, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Director of the MPRG, is one of the world’s leading eye specialists. The group has significantly contributed to science and medicine by publishing landmark research papers in high impact eye journals. The MPRG has published more scientific papers on this topic than any other research group in the world.

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