In addition to February being American Heart Month, it’s also AMD and low vision awareness month. According to Prevent Blindness (formerly Prevent Blindness America), over 2 million adults over the age of 50 in the US suffer from AMD, and the National Eye Institute shares that nearly 3 million Americans have low vision.
Both AMD and low vision rob patients of their sight and, unfortunately for patients with AMD, the condition is often not officially diagnosed until severe vision problems are experienced. Making sure patients understand the importance of routine eye exams is an essential step in detecting AMD before it causes irreversible damage. It also helps to educate patients on these issues, providing them with information on risk factors, symptoms and giving extra resources they can turn to for more information.
Below are a few talking points to help you get the conversation started with your patients.
AMD – The risk factors of AMD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking, as well as genetic factors such as age, family history and race. Symptoms include blurred vision, blind spots and straight lines appearing wavy.
Low Vision – Low vision is typically caused by macular degeneration, but can also be caused by birth defects, injuries, diabetes and vision issues like cataracts. It can also be a result of aging. Symptoms of low vision include decreased or total loss of central or peripheral vision, blurry or hazy vision, or night blindness.
Making Healthy Choices – Committing to a healthier lifestyle can help save sight. Encourage patients to eat foods that will contribute to the health of their eyes, exercise regularly and control their blood pressure. Also, remind them of the importance of protecting their eyes from preventable injuries and damage caused by UV exposure.
Give Patients Extra Resources – Providing patients with extra information they can read on their own about vision issues is a great way to help them understand the issues that affect their eyes. Prevent Blindness has several helpful resources available, including Living Well with Low Vision, the Prevent Blindness AMD Learning Center and See Jane See among others.
In addition to providing patients with the information they need to properly care for their vision, it also helps to provide them with a thorough eye exam, and Optos can help you do that. Our optomap® technology provides practitioners with a wider view of the retina than conventional equipment and images that are readily available for review with patients, so they can see exactly what you’re seeing. Visit our website today to learn more or request a consultation with a representative.