Macular degeneration can be a scary–

The article below was written for the Macular Degeneration Association (MDA) by Jeffry Gerson, O.D., F.A.A.O We are hoping that you find it very helpful.

Macular degeneration can be a scary disease to think about.

by: Jeffry D. Gerson, O.D., F.A.A.O.

The main thing that most people worry about is losing functional vision…not being able to read, drive, or see photos of grand-kids.  We know from clinical trials that one of the most important things if you do develop wet-AMD, is to identify it early.  The sooner wet AMD gets diagnosed and treated, the more likely somebody is to end up with good vision. 

“The vision at the time of diagnosis is crucial.”

That being said, many people are diagnosed once it is too late.  If you vision is already down to 20/400 (the big “E”), then there is not a great chance that that eye will end up with good vision.  This is where home monitoring/testing can come in.

For decades, eye doctors have asked their patients to check their vision at home with a grid, often on a sheet of paper given out at the office, to see if there have been any changes.  This grid, called an “Amsler Grid” has some issues, and is not always the easiest test to do accurately.  This is where newer technology comes in.

There are several FDA approved testing methods to be done at home.  Both alert your doctor when a “change” from normal occurs, and this will often happen before you even notice the change.  The method used by these tests is more accurate than just looking at letters or some other object to detect the earliest changes to vision. 

Two examples of these tests are the ForSee home and mVT.

ForSee home is a device that sits on a table or counter and is easily set up.  It is sent directly from the manufacturer and is ready to go out of the box.  The results are sent wirelessly to a digital reading-center that would alert your prescribing doctor of any changes.  The mVT is a doctor prescribed app for your smartphone, so it is easy to take with you anywhere.  It is also “read” at a remote center that alerts your doctor of any changes.  Both tests are done one eye at a time, and should be done at least twice a week.  ForSee is covered 80% by Medicare, which will leave about $15 to be paid by either patient or secondary insurance.  The mVT price varies by location, but will likely be similar in cost to ForSee home, and does not require any insurance.

The bottom line is that earlier detection of change is not only important, but possible.  Both these tests will give the opportunity for better outcomes if visual decline is detected.

For information on ForSee go to : forseehome.com  and find a prescriber near you

For information on mVT go to:  myvisiontrack.com   or ask your doctor

About Dr. Gerson: 

Dr. Gerson has authored several articles in journals such as “Review of Optometry” and “Optometric Management”, and continues to do so.  He also lectures frequently on the topics of retinal disease and systemic disease both here in the US and abroad.  He is on numerous advisory boards which often times allows him early access to technology.  He is a member of the American Optometric Association as well as the Kansas optometric association which named him their 2008 Young OD of the Year.  He is a fellow of both the Academy of Optometry and Optometric Retina Society.

Dr. Gerson has two boys, 5 and 11.  As a family, the Gersons enjoy watching the kids play sports, particularly soccer.  They have traveled together extensively and love exploring new places.  In his spare time, Dr. Gerson trains for triathlons.

Source: Jeffry D. Gerson, O.D., F.A.A.O. http://www.grineyecare.com/about/dr-gerson