Primary care optometrists and ophthalmologists may sometimes fail to detect age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision impairment in the elderly, a recent U.S. study suggests.
Researchers examined data on a total of 1,288 eyes from 644 older adults who got what’s known as a dilated eye exam, when clinicians widen the pupils with eye drops to let in more light and get a better look at the retina in back of the eyeball.
About 14 million Americans have age-related macular degeneration, and as the baby boomer population ages, the ranks of patients with this disorder are expected to swell, the researchers note in JAMA Ophthalmology.
“For many patients with more severe AMD the use of nutritional supplements can reduce the subsequent rate of worsening of AMD and vision loss,” said Dr. Paul Lee, IHPI member and director of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
“One piece of good news is that AMD is generally something that progresses over years, so that if detected on the next visit, there is still the opportunity to have the therapy started then,” said Lee.