Wilmington, NC, February 28, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- Seventy-four percent of Americans did not know that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people in the United States over the age of 60, according to a new survey. The top choice selected was, incorrectly, glaucoma. Despite the high prevalence of AMD, the majority of respondents -- 66 percent -- report that they are somewhat or not confident in their ability to care for their loved one should a family member develop AMD.
AMD is a progressive disease, which can lead to severe central vision “blind spots” in both eyes in the most advanced form, end-stage AMD. People living with end-stage AMD find it difficult or impossible to recognize faces, read, watch TV or complete tasks requiring detailed vision. The condition is also associated with increased stress and depression as vision diminishes.
The survey results highlight the need to educate older adults living with or at risk for AMD, as well as their potential caregivers, about how to manage and treat a progressive condition for which there is no cure.
“The early and intermediate stages of AMD usually start without symptoms, and only a comprehensive, eye exam can detect AMD,” stated Dr. Edward Paul of the Paul Vision Institute in Wilmington, North Carolina. “The good news is that preventative and treatment options for patients with AMD have advanced remarkably just in the past ten years.”
Dr. Paul recently spoke at the Harvard Faculty Club on innovations in the treatment of AMD. To view Dr. Paul's live presentation from the main stage at Harvard, visit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzRiOTPlnng
AMD is on the Rise
Recent projections estimate that in the United States the number of individuals with AMD will reach 20 million in 2020. That estimate mirrors survey findings, which found that 43% of Americans age 65 years or older (equivalent to nearly 20 million Americans) have or know someone with AMD.
As AMD worsens and vision diminishes, the need for caregiving increases. Notably, the survey found that more than 1 in 3 (35%) Americans who know someone with AMD assist them frequently. This supports studies finding that people living with advanced AMD may need assistance nearly four hours per day, five days per week. Spouses or adult children provide 72 percent of that care.
“Patients who lose central vision may feel like their independence is impacted if they need to ask for help signing checks, making selections at the grocery store or even recognizing grandchildren. As a result, adults with AMD are at higher risk for depression as their vision diminishes, which is why it’s important to develop an individualized management plan that incorporates a range of treatment and caregiving strategies,” stated Dr. Paul.
AMD Caregiving: Dr. Paul Offers the Following Tips
Initiate dialogue – Make a list of questions for your doctor about your specific diagnosis and available treatments
Make lifestyle changes – quitting smoking, losing weight and watching your blood pressure can help reduce the risk of AMD progression; simple changes like adjusting lighting and investing in an e-reader (that allows for larger print) can make daily life easier
Discuss driving – have a serious conversation with your family and physician about whether driving is safe for you and other people on the road
Find support – There are low vision resource centers and AMD awareness groups across the country
Research options – Learn more about the latest treatments, such as the telescope implant for those with the severest form of AMD.
About CentraSight and the Telescope Implant
The Implantable Miniature Telescope (by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz) is indicated for monocular implantation to improve vision in patients greater than or equal to 65 years of age with stable severe to profound vision impairment (best-corrected distance visual acuity 20/160 to 20/800) caused by bilateral central scotomas (blind areas) associated with end-stage AMD. This level of visual impairment constitutes statutory (legal) blindness. Smaller than a pea, the telescope is implanted in one eye in an outpatient surgical procedure. In the implanted eye, the device renders enlarged central vision images over a wide area of the retina to improve central vision, while the non-operated eye provides peripheral vision for mobility and orientation. The telescope implant is part of the CentraSight treatment program to help patients follow the necessary steps for proper diagnosis, surgical evaluation, and postoperative care.
Patients and physicians can learn more about low vision rehabilitation options for AMD patients by visiting www.DrEdwardPaul.com or calling 1-910-256-6364.
About Dr. Edward Paul:
Dr. Paul is one of “America’s Top Optometrists” as selected by the Consumer’s Research Council of America. He is one of only 30 eye physicians in the United States to be recognized as a Fellow of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists. He is a graduate of Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN, where he received a Doctor of Optometry degree (O.D.), and also holds a second doctorate, a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.), in Nutrition. Dr. Paul is also the researcher and inventor of the patented TOZAL Comprehensive Eye Health Formula, an eye vitamin for the prevention and treatment of macular degeneration.