A University of London study found that both healthcare professionals and the public lack awareness about age-related macular degeneration (AMD), causing preventable delay of diagnosis and treatment.
The UK study, published by BMJ Open Ophthalmology, highlighted that diagnosis delay was due to both patients and professionals being unaware of the significance of symptoms. Many patients also failed to understand the urgency to seek help, while appointment delays, failure to diagnose and communicating a diagnosis during initial consultations were also referenced in the study.
Only 33% of the respondents were able to detect symptoms of AMD, and 27% of patients whose initial appointment was delayed by more than a week had treatable AMD requiring urgent intervention to avoid sight loss.
The study included the experiences of over 600 Macular Society members over the age of 50 who were diagnosed with AMD after August 2008 when treatment for wet AMD became available on the National Health Service.