OCT 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

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Page 131 of 134

October 2013 EW IN OTHER NEWS 129 Ophthalmologist bikes for awareness of alternative treatments I n order to raise awareness of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and alternative treatments for the disease, Edward Kondrot, MD, Healing the Eye and Wellness Center, Dade City, Fla., took a break from his practice and went on a 335-mile bike ride in July. For the trip, which took him from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., Dr. Kondrot sought pledges and support from friends, patients, and others to highlight a cause that is very important to him. The cause and generating support "To me it's an important cause," Dr. Kondrot said. "There needs to be awareness in the ophthalmic community that there are alternative therapies besides taking vitamins to help folks who are losing their eyesight." by Ellen Stodola EyeWorld Staff Writer The venue for generating this awareness became clear when Dr. Kondrot heard about a bike trail that originates in Pittsburgh and goes to Washington, D.C. "I grew up in Pittsburgh and went to the University of Pittsburgh, so I have a lot of fond memories of that city even though I practice now in Florida," Dr. Kondrot said. "We put up a Facebook page and sent out a newsletter to all my patients and friends, asking them to support us by pledging a certain amount per mile." Supporters pledged amounts of either 10 cents, 50 cents, a dollar, or 10 dollars per mile, and Dr. Kondrot said he was overwhelmed by the amount of support his cause received through pledges. All the money will go to the Restore Vision Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization in Arizona that educates doctors on alternative therapies and helps patients who may not be able to afford some of the alternative treatments. The bike ride The bike ride itself was 335 miles and completed from July 19 to July 25 by Dr. Kondrot, his wife, and his son. "It was very difficult to do 335 miles," said Dr. Kondrot, who documented his trip via Facebook, posting updates of the journey. He explained that it was often hard to navigate the trails, since most were not paved and were gravel or dirt roads. Dr. Kondrot said that the weather was one of the many challenges of the trip. Starting in Pittsburgh, the conditions were very humid at around 97 degrees. This was followed by three solid days of rain, which made progress hard on the trail and left everything completely soaked through. Dr. Kondrot made stops along the way in numerous towns. The first stop in Connellsville, Pa. yielded quite a surprise when he encountered a former patient he had operated on 15 years ago who is now the owner of the bed and breakfast where he stayed. "Every place I stayed, I told them about my cause and offered to send them a complimentary copy of my best-selling book, 10 Essentials to Save Your Sight," Dr. Kondrot said. The trip was not without other challenges, including a mishap near the end of the trip. About 10 miles to the final destination in Washington, D.C., Dr. Kondrot lost two spokes on his rear wheel and could not ride anymore. Luckily, another bike ride was going on in the city, and someone was able to take him to a bike shop to fix the wheel so continued on page 130 Dr. Kondrot, his wife, and his son pause on their trip, which they undertook to raise awareness for alternative treatment for age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Kondrot poses at mile marker 167 on his 335-mile bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. Dr. Kondrot poses outside The Gingerbread House Bed and Breakfast, which was one of many stops on the trip.

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