Challenging vision impairment in a ‘decade of vision’

age related macular degenerationWe are now three years into the ‘Decade of vision’, a resolution passed by the US Senate to  recognise the 40th anniversary of the National Eye Institute (NEI) and back their efforts to prevent blindness and to save and restore vision.

This campaign to prevent vision impairment is needed more than ever.

The rise of age-related eye disease

As over 78 million people turn 65 over the next ten years there will be an increase in age-related eye diseases such as age-related degeneration disorder (AMD).

There are more than 38 million Americans aged 40+ who are blind, visually impaired, or have an age-related eye disease. It is expected that this number will increase as the population ages.

Wet AMD is one of the most common causes of vision loss in the 40+ generations. This disease can cause straight lines to appear skewed, an increased sensitivity to bright lights and colours, and a blind spot in the central vision. Each symptom has been reported as quickly intensifying and when ignored some people have also experienced hallucinations. However, these symptoms don’t appear immediately and are often signs of advanced AMD.

The current treatments most commonly used for AMD are called Lucentis and Eylea. These medications are regular intravitreous injections which can cause eye pain and also require patients to take monthly trips to the hospital.

Prevention, not intervention

The best way to fight AMD is to catch it early. Whilst there are treatments available to those with late stage AMD by preventing the condition’s advancement eye care professionals can save potentially lost eye sight and take pressure away from other health services.

With the MPS II macular pigment reader optometrists are able to detect patients with a high risk of AMD with a fast, accurate 90-second test. This allows the expert to give the correct advice and supplements to their patient in order to prevent AMD developing.

Over recent years research has led to several breakthroughs which may lead to new treatments to combat AMD:

Over the next decade, as the numbers of those affected by AMD rise, it is essential that research into age-related eye diseases gets more funding. It is also equally important to challenge this rise through an appeal to the public to have their eyes tested regularly for AMD through regular visits to their eye care expert.

More information

For further details on AMD and how to detect it visit the website for the RNIB and their Spot the Signs campaign.

To find out more about the MPS II.

[Picture Credit: PLOS Blogs]

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