MAY 23, 2011
While the impact of late AMD on vision is well-known, it's less clear if earlier stages of AMD, characterized by drusen and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) changes, have a significant impact on visual functioning, although studies suggest some visual impairment may occur with early AMD.
Additionally, most of our knowledge to date about the impact of AMD on participation in daily living activities has come from clinic-based samples with no population-based data available. The authors of this paper report on the impact of early and late AMD on vision-specific functioning using population-based data from the Singapore Malay Eye Study (SiMES), a cross-sectional study investigating prevalence and impact of major eye diseases among 3,252 participants.
They found that the prevalence of early AMD was 3.5 percent and late AMD 0.34 percent. In multivariate models, after adjusting for age, gender, education, level of income, smoking status, ocular condition and hypertension, only late AMD was independently associated with poorer vision functioning when compared with no AMD or early AMD.They found that early AMD or its principal components, drusen or RPE abnormality, were not independently associated with vision functioning (p>0.05). People with late AMD were twice as likely to have low levels of vision-specific functioning than those without AMD. There were no significant differences in vision functioning between those with no AMD signs and those with signs of early AMD.
The authors conclude that their study re-emphasizes the need to prevent progression of early AMD to late AMD, where the impact is clearly substantial, specifically the importance of targeting patients with early AMD signs for interventions such as dietary modifications and smoking cessation.