Depression and AMD
Vision loss due to AMD can have a devastating impact on someone's psychological well-being - the same as if that same person had cancer or heart disease, according to a new report by the AMD Alliance International (AMDAI).
The report, called 'Quality of Life in Age-Related Macular Degeneration
', raises awareness of the little-known psychological effects of AMD - the leading cause of vision loss in Canadians 50 and older - including the fact that people with the disease are nearly three times more at risk of depression than the general population.
In addition to an increased risk of depression the report notes that AMD adversely affects day-to-day life. Seniors with AMD are eight times more likely to have difficulties shopping, 12 times more likely to have problems using a telephone and nine times more likely to have trouble with simple house work, when compared to others in their age group.
The condition also puts people at higher risk of accidents such as hip fractures, and many with the disease are unable to drive. All of this may lead to depression - but the report suggests it doesn't have to be that way.
Support is crucial
'The dire consequences of AMD, such as depression, injury and isolation, can be prevented with the right supports at the right time. Our governments must understand that AMD needs to be a priority on the health agenda,' said Cathy Moore, National Director of Consumer and Government Relations, CNIB. 'Access to vision rehabilitation and support tools to limit the damage caused by AMD and improve independence is critical.'
Timely access to the treatment and rehabilitation are also essential, she notes. 'A good life with AMD is very possible, with the right supports at the right time. People with AMD need to know that there is hope. Treatments are available, and there are many ways you can learn to do things differently so you can still lead a meaningful and productive life.'
Need for increased awareness
The report also marks the beginning of an AMDAI global outreach campaign to raise awareness about the little-known psychological effects of AMD. The campaign aims to demonstrate that basic supports to improve the quality of life of people with AMD are vital.
'AMD is no longer just about vision loss. It's also about mental health and quality of life, which is why AMD awareness, and timely access to treatment and support services are essential,' said Wanda Hamilton, Executive Director, AMD Alliance International. 'Health policy makers must acknowledge that quality of life is an important patient outcome. There are simple steps that can be taken to drastically diminish the impact of AMD.'
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