AMD needs better funding, screening and treatment

February 3, 2015

The NHS is facing issues related to the diagnosing, treating and managing the growing number of ageing people affected by AMD, the leading cause of blindness in the Western world.

The National Health Service (NHS) is facing issues related to the diagnosing, treating and managing the growing number of ageing people affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the Western world, and a recent event at the House of Commons called attention to that fact.

“Macular degeneration is a devastating disease that is affecting a growing number of people as our population ages,” Sir David Amess, a member of parliament for Southend West and host of the event, said in a statement. “This government is committed to providing care and treatment for those with the condition, and I shall be raising some of the points made at today’s event with my colleagues as we work to tackle preventable blindness.”

AMD Alliance International led the event, which was sponsored by Oraya Therapeutics. It brought together representatives from the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Macular Society, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the College of Optometrists, ophthalmologists, politicians, policymakers and patients to discuss how AMD affects the lives of the ageing population, the cost to the NHS, and how the burden could be eased.

From left to right: Ms Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Mr Danny Gleeson, Guide Dogs for the Blind (with Dylan the Guide Dog), Dr Alan Cruess, AMD Alliance International, Dr Keith Gordon, AMD Alliance International, Mr Michael Valenzia, Macular Society, Mr Dennis Lewis, Macular Society, Mr Mark Ackermann, AMD Alliance, Prof Ian Banks, European Forum Against Blindness (EFAB)

In the end, the group agreed to:

  • Work to increase government funding to enable more eye clinics to meet the recommended waiting times for initial treatment of exudative AMD by January 2017.

  • Enable early diagnosis of serious eye conditions by placing eye health screening at the heart of the primary care agenda, for those of school age to those in later life.

  • Work to establish a national eye health registry to record all data from both primary and secondary care.

The AMD Alliance also unveiled its Global Atlas, which identifies the costs and burden of AMD across the world as well as ways to increase cost-effectiveness and spread treatment. The UK and the US were the first two countries studied, followed by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, Canada and Australia. The organization plans to study five more countries this year.