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Eliot L. Berson, M.D.

William F. Chatlos Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School
Director, Harvard’s Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Director, Electroretinography (ERG) Service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

A graduate of Phillips Andover, Yale and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Berson is the author of over 250 papers on hereditary retinal degenerations with a particular emphasis on retinitis pigmentosa and allied night-blinding disorders. His research has been recognized by several awards including the Franceschetti Award of the International Society for Genetic Eye Diseases, the Friedenwald Award of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the MERIT Award of the National Eye Institute, the Pisart Vision Award of the New York Lighthouse International, two Alcon Research Institute awards, the Llura Liggett Gund Award of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and the Ludwig von Sallmann Prize of the International Society of Eye Research.

He and his colleagues are responsible for developing the first treatment regimen for adults with typical retinitis pigmentosa -- namely, vitamin A palmitate, DHA supplementation by capsules for two years for those starting vitamin A for the first time, and an omega-3 rich fish diet of which DHA is a major constituent for those already on vitamin A. They have also been responsible for the initial discovery of several gene mutations responsible for retinitis pigmentosa and for development and treatment of laboratory models of this condition. He continues research aimed at further slowing the rate of progression of retinitis pigmentosa and defining the course of these diseases through molecular genetic analyses. He evaluates patients in consultation in the Electroretinography (ERG) Service attached to the Berman-Gund Laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary where patients come for diagnosis, prognosis, and initiation of vitamin A therapy where appropriate.

Publications:
Berson EL. Retinitis pigmentosa. The Friedenwald Lecture. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1993; 34:1659-1676.
Berson EL, Rosner B, Sandberg MA, Hayes KC, Nicholson BW, Weigel-DiFranco C, Willett W. A randomized trial of vitamin A and vitamin E supplementation for retinitis pigmentosa. Arch Ophthalmol 1993; 111:761-772.
Sibulesky L, Hayes KC, Pronczuk A, Weigel-DiFranco C, Rosner B, Berson EL. Safety of less than 7,500 RE/day (25,000 IU/day) of vitamin A in adults with retinitis pigmentosa. Amer J Clin Nutr 1999; 69:656-663.
Berson EL, Rosner B, Sandberg MA, Weigel-DiFranco C, Moser A, Brockhurst RJ, Hayes KC, Johnson CA, Anderson EJ, Gaudio AR, Willett WC, Schaefer EJ. Further evaluation of docosahexaenoic acid in patients with retinitis pigmentosa receiving vitamin A treatment: Subgroup analyses. Arch Ophthalmol 2004;122:1306-1314.
Berson EL. Long-term visual prognoses in patients with retinitis pigmentosa. The Ludwig von Sallmann Lecture. Exp Eye Res 2007; 85:7-14.
A complete list of research publications can be seen at www.pubmed.gov.

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