Since February is designated Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness month. For healthcare providers, there are numerous resources available to help promote awareness to patients and to encourage patients to continue (or start) annual visual exams.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has infographics for physicians to use to educate patients about the importance of eye exams. (Image courtesy of AABy Michelle Dalton, ELS
February is designated Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness month. As healthcare providers, there are numerous resources available for download to help promote awareness to patients and to encourage patients to continue (or start) annual visual exams.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that AMD is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans. Throughout the month of February, AAO “is reminding people with AMD that they can save their vision thanks to recent treatment advances, but early detection is a critical first step.” Contact the organization (firstname.lastname@example.org) for promotional materials to distribute to patients.
The American Society of Retina Specialists’ Saving Vision resource is geared towards people who want more information about retina disorders, and promotes the importance of care by a retina specialist.
Information on AMD is available at: https://www.asrs.org/patients/retinal-diseases/2/age-related-macular-degeneration. The website features definitions, videos (including a public service announcement), and printable PDFs for eyecare providers to give to patients.
The American Society of Retina Specialists has hyperlinks on its website so individuals can learn more about AMD.
The National Eye Institute’s National Eye Health Education Program Module 2 (https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/programs/visionandaging/toolkit/module2) provides a review of the age-related eye diseases and conditions that can cause permanent vision loss and blindness in older people.
The National Eye Institute promotes vision health in older Americans. (Image courtesy of National Eye Institute)
The organization has links to PowerPoint presentations, speaker’s guide on how to present the information contained in the PowerPoint, promotional event announcements, and infographics that can be readily used. Although not specific to AMD, this particular module promotes annual exams as some diseases are not noticeable in their early stages.
The government agency also offers facts and prevention tips on AMD, including:
• By 2050, more than 5.4 million Americans are expected to have AMD, up from 2.1 million in 2010;
• 89% of those with AMD in the United States are Caucasian;
• Factors to reduce the risk of developing AMD include avoiding smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet.
The American Macular Degeneration Foundation promotes healthier lifestyles through its Eat Right for Your Sight Cookbook, its newsletters, educational DVDs, and videos. These can be viewed on its website (https://www.macular.org/video-presentations), including a public service announcement from actor Ed Asner describing in layman’s terms the central loss of vision that is the hallmark of AMD.
The Macular Degeneration Partnership (http://amd.org) notes that as many as 15 million Americans may have AMD. The group includes both wet and dry forms, while the NEI concentrated its statistics on wet AMD.
For people whose family members may be affected, the partnership uses video to explain how AMD affects vision. This 15-second video illustrates how vision slowly deteriorates until central vision is all but lost.
Prevent Blindness concentrates on AMD as “Awareness Makes a Difference” and provides links to several fact sheets on the disease (including some in large print).
The fact sheets can be found atAMD blurbs for affiliates
The organization also has teamed up with Bausch + Lomb to use social media to draw attention to the disorder. The group (through http://joyofsight.com/amdaware.html) encourages people to post on various social media websites using the “#WhyEyeFight” and “#AMDAwarenessMonth” hashtags in the phrase “I fight to preserve my sight so I can ___________.”