In this study, people with AMD participated weekly in a structured two-hour group session designed to provide information and support, and enhance patients' problem-solving skills. They were tested before and after the program, with scores compared with AMD patients who did not participate in the program.
For those who completed the self-management course, scores showed that their quality of life was enhanced, and those who began the study with measurable depression had marked improvement in their mood and function. The results are reported in the November Archives of Ophthalmology.
"Many people with macular degeneration experience not only the disability of vision loss due to this incurable disease; they also become anxious and depressed, which contributes to their inability to carry out life activities," said the study's senior author, Stuart I. Brown, M.D., director of the Shiley Eye Center and chair of ophthalmology at the UCSD School of Medicine. "With this program, we inform them, challenge them, and teach them how to manage their lives and deal with their vision loss. The amount of improvement was significant. At the end of the process they realized their capabilities and were much more confident and able to cope."
AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in older adults, affecting an estimated one out of five individuals over the age of 65. The incurable disease is caused by degeneration of cells, and in some forms blood vessel leakage, in the macula, which is the area in the retina responsible for central vision. With advanced AMD,
Contact: Leslie Franz
University of California - San Diego