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Macular degeneration patients benefit from self-management training

es despite their impaired vision."

Because of the increasing number of patients with age-related AMD associated with the growing number of people over age 65, the Shiley Eye Center developed the 12-hour program to bring AMD patients together in groups, led by health professionals, to share their experiences and frustrations, and to learn how to live with the condition. The program combines basic education about the disease with specific problem-solving sessions and projects to help participants overcome barriers and remain self-sufficient, according to Barbara Brody, M.P.H., clinical professor of ophthalmology at UCSD and director of Community Ophthalmology, at the Shiley Eye Center, and first author of the paper.

These sessions include helping patients discuss their disease and describe their limitations to others, which is often difficult for AMD patients, said Brody.

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Caused by the degeneration of cells and in some forms, blood vessel leakage, in the macula, the area responsible for central vision, the AMD patient loses central vision but retains peripheral vision.

For this study, 231 volunteers ranging in age from 60 to 99, all with advanced AMD, were randomly assigned to either the self-management group, a group that listened to lectures on tape, and a group that was placed on a waiting list but received no intervention. All patients were assessed for emotional and functional status; about 24 percent of the patients had major or minor depression.

The 86 patients who participated in the self-management program attended six two-hour sessions designed "to increase patients' expectations of successfully dealing with the effects of advanced AMD," according to the study's authors. "Low vision aids and services were discussed. Problem-solving skills training, including goal setting, action plans, new ways to think about their situations, role playing, and modeling o
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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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