by: Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO- Medical Director of the Optometric Board for the Macular Degeneration Association (MDA)
For those with macular degeneration, a question I often hear is “What can I do?” Hopefully, if you are in this “boat” you have heard about the importance of eating a healthy diet with green leafy vegetables and less refined carbohydrates, not smoking, exercising some and being a normal body weight, taking care of systemic issues like high blood pressure, and taking the appropriate vitamin as prescribed by your eye care provider. All these things are important and help to try to prevent the onset of wet macular degeneration. However, even with best efforts, some people will progress to wet AMD and need treatment. A crucial fact here is that the vision you have when you get the first injection for wet AMD may be the most important factor in how well you ultimately do.
This means that earlier identification of wet AMD may help allow a better visual outcome. The best way to do this is monitoring your vision between your office visits. Many of you have probably been told about an amsler grid that when done correctly is a reasonable tool to catch change in vision. However, much more accurate than an amsler grid is an at home digital monitoring system that is FDA approved and the patient remotely monitors for change. It is a test that can be done daily, and needs to be done at least twice a week and is more likely to pick up the earliest symptoms of wet AMD before you even notice it. If there is a change from normal, an alert will be generated and your doctor will know to have you come to the office in short order to verify if there is any change or not and if treatment is needed.
The clinical study for this equipment worked so well that they needed to stop it early…it wasn’t fair to not offer it to everybody with how improved the outcomes were in the group using it. The bottom line was if somebody converted to wet AMD, they were more likely to end up with vison good enough to drive and read if they were using this device. It is not approved for all dry AMD patients, so you can ask your doctor if this is right for you. The device is called the ForSee Home, and you can learn more about it by going to https://www.forseehome.com. The ForSee Home is easy to use and is most likely covered by your insurance. Over half of people with Medicare end up not having to pay anything for this incredible technology to be in their home.
About Dr. Gerson:
Dr. Jeffry Gerson is Medical Director of the Optometric Board of the Macular Degeneration Association
Dr. Jeffry Gerson graduated from Indiana University school of Optometry in 1997, after which he went on to do a VA residency concentrating in low vision and ocular disease. He has been in several different practice settings, including a retina referral practice where he participated in several large clinical trials.
Currently, Dr Gerson is in private practice that is a collaboration of both OD’s and MD’s. He see’s primary care patients, and has an emphasis on retinal care in his practice. He enjoys having 4th year optometry interns with him and the challenges that they present. He still participates in clinical trials and utilizes many different diagnostic modalities.
Dr. Gerson is a frequent lecturer in the US and abroad, and writes regularly for optometric publications. When not at work, he enjoys travelling, working out and spending time with his family.
This article belongs to the Macular degeneration Association (MDA)