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The topics in this volume explore the etiology, cellular mechanisms, epidemiology, genetics, models and potential therapeutic measures for the blinding diseases of retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. Special focus is highlighted in the areas of Mechanisms of Photoreceptor Degeneration and Cell Death (extremely important because very little is known how or why photoreceptors die in these diseases, despite an abundance of genetic information), Age-Related Macular Degeneration (with several novel approaches to its analysis), Usher Syndrome (the most severe form of retinitis pigmentosa, which includes an early or congenital loss of hearing along with blindness), and Gene Therapy. In addition, the section on Basic Science Related to Retinal Degeneration is particularly strong with several laboratories reporting on new discoveries in the area of outer segment phagocytosis, a key component of photoreceptor-retinal pigment epithelial cell interactions in normal and degenerating retinas.