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Macular degeneration patients benefit from self-management training

A 12-hour self-management program for individuals with advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) leads to lasting improvements in mood and function, especially in depressed patients, and decreases the development of clinical depression in AMD patients over time, according to a University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Shiley Eye Center study published in the January 2005 Archives of Ophthalmology.

In this study, individuals who participated in a structured group session designed to educate patients and assist them with skills to successfully live with the vision loss caused by AMD were assessed six-months after they completed the program. The same cohort was the subject of a paper published in the November 2002 Archives of Ophthalmology, based on testing results immediately following their participation in the program.

The 2002 study showed significant improvement in quality of life, mood and function in patients immediately following completion of the program.

This study is a six-month follow-up assessment of the self-management group and a control group of patients who did not participate in the program. Benefits of reduced distress and improved function were still seen in those who had participated in the self-management program compared with the control group. And, the incidence of depression in the control group had grown to more than twice that of the self-management group, indicating that the program "seemed to have a remarkable influence on preventing new cases of depression," according to the study's authors.

"Too often the vision loss that results from this incurable disease is accompanied by anxiety, hopelessness and depression," said Stuart I. Brown, M.D., director of UCSD's Shiley Eye Center and Chair of Ophthalmology at UCSD. "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 liv
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Contact: Eileen Callahan
ecallahan@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
10-Jan-2005


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