The impact of dry AMD
A recent study from City, University of London has offered an insight into the experience of living with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by exploring patients’ experiences of diagnosis and its impact on everyday life.
The results show that dry AMD can have an impact on patients’ well-being, even during the early stages of the disease, before vision is significantly affected. Whilst more than 50% of patients in the study satisfied visual requirements to hold a UK driving licence, negative impacts on psychological well-being and the ability to perform tasks of daily living were evident.
Patients in the study described experiencing ‘distress’ at the time of diagnosis and having a feeling of ‘constant fear’ that their condition would deteriorate. Some patients also reported a lack of empathy from their eye care provider when they received their diagnosis, with some patients being told that there was nothing that could be done.
The psychological impact of dry AMD on patients is not an area that has been explored previously and this study raises some important considerations about how we, as eye care professionals, manage patients with dry AMD in practice.
The authors highlight how simple measures, such as communicating carefully, providing information about the disease and its outcomes, and knowing where to refer patients for further support, can alleviate feelings of distress and anxiety and help patients to cope with their diagnosis.
However, it is evident that improved support is not just needed for dry AMD patients, but for everyone diagnosed with AMD.
The Macular Society has recently published a course, titled The Emotional Impact of a Diagnosis of AMD, that focuses on how healthcare professionals can help patients come to terms with their diagnosis through careful communication and provision of information and advice. This course is free to complete and is worth 1 CET point.
If you would like to learn more about AMD, the Macular Society course, An Introduction to AMD, offers a comprehensive guide to central vision loss and its management.
For more information on these courses please visit www.macularsocietylearning.org.
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