TUESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDayNews) — A program that educates people with advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) about the disease and provides them with the skills to live with vision loss leads to lasting improvements in mood and function.
That’s the conclusion of a report in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology .
The 12-hour self-management program is especially effective for depressed patients and helps reduce the incidence of depression in AMD patients over time, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego Shiley Eye Center.
AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Most cases are caused by cell degeneration in the macula, the area of the eye responsible for central vision. AMD patients lose their central vision but still have peripheral vision. Some forms of AMD are caused by blood vessel leakage in the macula.
This study was a six-month follow-up assessment of a group of AMD patients who took the self-management course and a control group of AMD patients who didn’t take the program. Those who took the course had improved function and less distress than those in the control group.
Depression was more than twice as common in the control group as in the self-management group.
“Too often the vision loss that results from this incurable disease is accompanied by anxiety, hopelessness and depression. As we continue to seek effective treatments and cures for AMD, we have made it an immediate priority to help patients develop the confidence and skills to continue leading fulfilling lives despite their impaired vision,” Dr. Stuart I. Brown, director of the Shiley Eye Center, said in a prepared statement.
SOURCE: University of California, San Diego, news release, Jan. 10, 2005