Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness on the planet and can severely impact the quality of life of people suffering from it.
However, a recent study may provide hope to people who have a high risk of the condition or who have already been diagnosed.
A new risk assessment model published by Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, may help predict development of the condition, it has been claimed.
Dr Michael Klein, from the Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, and colleagues, claim the model should identify individuals with early AMD who are at greatest risk to progress to advanced AMD and should be able to predict when that progression might occur.
The specialists used longitudinal data from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, including participants" DNA samples, ocular and medical histories and examinations, and identified two endpoints - development of advanced AMD in either eye by participants who did not have this condition at baseline, and advanced AMD in a second eye by participants who, at baseline, had it in one eye.
The patients were then followed for an average of 9.3 years, with the model proving successful in identifying the condition.
Of the 2,602 participants in the final model who, at baseline, had no advanced AMD, 24 percent developed advanced AMD during follow-up.
Of those with advanced AMD at baseline, 82 per cent had dry AMD, and 56 per cent who had wet AMD type, developed advanced AMD in the other eye.
The experts concluded: "[The results] can be of potential value in clinical practice by helping determine the frequency of follow-up examinations, the use of home monitoring of central vision, and the advisability of initiating preventive measures including beneficial lifestyle changes such as dietary alterations and nutritional supplement use."
by Martin Burns