February 1, 2024
CHICAGO — Prevent Blindness has declared February as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month. The group is offering a variety of free educational resources to the public and professionals, including fact sheets and social media graphics in English and Spanish, dedicated online resources, and informative videos.
According to the National Eye Institute, 11 million people in the United States have AMD. To help patients and care partners better understand AMD, a new episode in the Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health Expert Series, “Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision,” is now available. Prevent Blindness President and CEO Jeff Todd discusses diagnosis, risk factors, emerging treatments and more, with W. Lloyd Clark, MD, Palmetto Retinal Center, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.
Patients and care partners are also encouraged to download the Prevent Blindness free AMD GuideMe app. GuideMe works by asking a few questions about the user and the user’s AMD diagnosis. It then creates a customized guide with helpful information, tips, resources, and suggested steps to take to be proactive about protecting vision. Users can read this guide on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC, and email a printable copy to the user for future reference.
Prevent Blindness recently collaborated with award-winning actress, dancer, and director Debbie Allen and Regeneron for the Gr8 Eye Movement, a new disease awareness campaign that aims to address gaps in how people understand the risk of developing certain serious retinal diseases, including AMD. The program provides resources to encourage people to monitor their vision every month.
An Amsler grid can be useful for AMD patients to help check the central vision in each of the eyes separately every day. Prevent Blindness offers a free printable Amsler grid.
Additionally, Prevent Blindness offers resources on geographic atrophy (GA), an advanced form of dry AMD. Resources include a downloadable fact sheet and a series of shareable social media graphics in English and Spanish, and a dedicated webpage. These resources are supported by funding from Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Iveric Bio, an Astellas Company.
Low vision is defined as vision loss that cannot be corrected by medical or surgical treatments or conventional eyeglasses, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. More than seven million Americans have low vision.
To support those with low vision and their care partners, Prevent Blindness offers the free comprehensive resource, “Living Well With Low Vision.” Visitors can also find information on the latest vision research, disease-specific news and clinical trials. This resource is supported by grants from Alexion, Amgen, Genentech, and Johnson & Johnson.
As part of the “Low Vision” episode of the Focus on Eye Health Expert Series, R. Tracy Williams, OD, FAAO, Executive Director at Spectrios Institute for Low Vision, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Loyola University and Adjunct Professor, Illinois College of Optometry, discusses low vision and low vision rehabilitation resources. Dr. Williams is also a former volunteer Prevent Blindness Board of Directors member.