Good Guy Force

We could be a force. Really! According to ScienceDaily (4/27/17) we are up to an estimated 14 million AMD sufferers in the States alone. That is one big number of visually impaired older folks!

We already know knowledge is power. Numbers are power, too. It is hard to ignore that many people. That is slightly more than the populations of Buenos Aires or Istanbul. Wow.

So now that we realize we have so much power, we need to decide if we want to use it for good or evil. Silly question! We all know we are the Good Guys!

Good guys go out and rescue people; right? Well, it turns out there are a heck of a lot of people who need to be rescued!

What am I talking about? David Neely at the University of Alabama re-examined 644 people who had been given clean bills of macular health based on routine eye exams. Double that to get the number of eyeballs, 1288.

Neely found 320 eyes had AMD! That is 25%! There was not a whisper in medical records about any of these eyes having drusen. Undiagnosed AMD was associated with older patients, male gender and less than a high school education.

Maybe there is no treatment for those eyes now, but what about in five or ten years? By then such lapses in diagnosis may mean the difference between an easy fix and serious problems.

Hot Topics Small Talk (volume 2, number 5) also picked up on Neely’s work and make a nice, little summary sheet for us. This summary noted it is harder to visualize the retina during routine exams in older adults. Maybe ‘routine’ should become a bit more rigorous? The pathology was observed using fundus photography.

Other findings cited by Hot Topics? The presence of cataracts did not contribute to misdiagnosis. Also, it did not matter if the initial exam was done by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.

Essentially, this research suggests we could be over 17 million strong (and I mean that word, strong) if these early cases were not being overlooked. Like I said, perhaps not essential now but possibly crucial in the future.

So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to encourage everyone, but especially older folks, to have fundoscopic examinations of their eyes. As usual, should any of your AMD Good Guy force be caught doing this, we will be very proud of you. This page will self-destructive in ten, nine, eight……

Next: coming soon!

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