Newswise — Northampton, MA – The American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) and The Angiogenesis Foundation are partnering in a series of national initiatives designed to help people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) get better care and treatment. As a first step, the organizations are distributing surveys to gather AMD patient and caregiver perspectives and experiences in dealing with this leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older. 

According to AMDF President and Founder, Chip Goehring, solutions start with educating (and thereby empowering) both patients and eye care providers about the truths of living with the disease, establishing realistic expectations, and overcoming barriers to care.  “While we vigorously support researchers who are pursuing new treatments for macular degeneration, we can still do a lot to improve quality of life – and even slow vision loss – through currently available treatments and healthy lifestyle choices,” he said. “We are extremely pleased to have found such a closely-aligned and forward-thinking partner in The Angiogenesis Foundation.” 

The Angiogenesis Foundation, whose mission is to improve global health by advancing angiogenesis-based medicine, diet, and lifestyle held a series of summit meetings that brought together AMD patients, eye care providers, patient advocacy groups and nonprofit foundations to unearth unmet needs in the treatment of macular degeneration. (Angiogenesis is the process of new blood vessel formation. In advanced AMD, the process goes awry and leaky blood vessels in the retina cause irreversible vision loss.)

“As part of our approach to helping patients protect their vision, we are delighted to partner with AMDF,” said William W. Li, CEO, President and Medical Director of the Angiogenesis Foundation. “The information we are gathering from these surveys will help eye care providers better understand how people with AMD experience the disease so we can improve communications between doctors and patients and develop recommendations for optimal treatment.  We plan for the next initiative in this partnership with AMDF to include new educational materials that will allow AMD patients to become more active in managing their condition.” 

“Think about this,” said Goehring. “Nearly three quarters of AMD patients have substantial vision loss at first treatment. If those same patients had been aware of their risk factors and had started seeing an eye care specialist earlier in life, they could possibly have saved their sight by detecting and tracking the disease, making some lifestyle changes, and getting treatment as soon as possible.”

Each survey takes about 10 minutes or less to complete. AMD patients can consider filling out this survey:

Patients receiving injections for advanced or “wet” AMD can consider filling out this survey:

Spouses, friends or family member of someone receiving injections for AMD can consider filling out this survey:

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About Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD affects more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined – and is caused by a deterioration of the macula, the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The macula is responsible for central vision, acuity and color perception. Vision loss from AMD affects our ability to read, drive a car, watch TV, recognize faces and live independently. Nearly one in three people over 75 is at risk of getting advanced AMD, which is irreversible.

About the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF)
The AMDF is a non-profit organization committed to empowering and inspiring those affected by macular degeneration while advancing research and technology to prevent, treat, and cure macular degeneration. The foundation offers hope and support to those with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and their families, and raises public awareness of the disease while supporting a national research agenda which makes allies of the scientific community, the government, and people and their families who are living with AMD.

About the Angiogenesis Foundation
The Angiogenesis Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization disrupting disease through angiogenesis, the process the body uses to grow new blood vessels. Our mission is to help people lead healthier, longer lives through angiogenesis-based treatment and prevention. By using new medical treatments that either inhibit or stimulate angiogenesis, doctors are prolonging the lives of cancer patients, preventing limb amputations, reversing vision loss, and improving general health.