Gabrielle deGroot Redford,wrote for the AATP online newsletter that a new JAMA Ophthalmology study found that one in every four cases of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was missed by trained eye care professionals, a finding that could have serious implications for the growing population of older adults most at risk of developing the sight-robbing disease.
Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham reexamined 644 patients (average age 69) who had undergone a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist and discovered that fully 25 percent of those whose eyes had been deemed to be normal actually showed signs of AMD, the leading cause of irreversible vision loss for Americans age 50 and older in the U.S.
“As the baby boomer population comes into the years when age-related macular degenerationbecomes more prevalent, we need to make sure that patients are properly diagnosed,” says lead study author David Neely, M.D., of the University of Alabama, Birmingham. “Fortunately in our study, no cases of the advanced form of the disease were missed.”
AMD affects 14 million Americans and is characterized by a loss of central vision, making everyday activities like reading, driving and watching television difficult. As the population ages, the number of people with the disease is expected to increase significantly.
While there is no cure, researchers have discovered ways to slow the progression of AMD through nutritional supplementation and, in more severe cases, with injectable anti-VEGF medications that shrink the abnormal blood vessels that are a hallmark of the advanced stages of the disease. Read more