Early Detection Means Early Treatment

Early Detection Means Early Treatment

Posted on Oct.22, 2014, under Educational, Eye Conditions, Eye Health, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info, Low Vision Tips

Have you been instructed to check your vision daily at home with an Amsler Grid? Ever wonder why that is so important? Those with dry macular degeneration are at a higher risk of developing the more advanced type of AMD, wet macular degeneration, the kind that causes the most severe vision loss.

Why Check My Vision at Home?

Early detection of choroidal neovascularization (wet AMD) means early treatment which translates into less vision loss. According to the November 2011 report, Advocating for Improved Treatment and Outcomes for
Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration by the Angiogenesis Foundation “Early diagnosis and aggressive early treatment improves visual outcomes, but these require ready access to retinal specialists, appropriate treatments, and regular monitoring following initiation of therapy.”

How Effective is Home Testing?

However not all home testing programs are the same. The most common home test for the development of choroidal neovascularization is the use of the Amsler Grid. It is a square consisting of parallel and horizontal lines. With one eye covered, the patient is instructed to look at the square and see if the lines appear distorted in any way. If they do, an immediate call to one’s eye doctor is warranted. Some studies report 30% and 34% sensitivity for early detection of wet AMD using this method.

A new technology, called the ForeseeHome Monitor, has been used in thousands of AMD patients. It uses a technology called Preferential Hyperacuity Perimetry ( PHP). PHP has the ability to identify visual changes earlier – when the lesions are smaller and according to the study, Functional and Morphologic Benefits in Early Detection of Neovascular Age Related Macular Degeneration Using the Preferential Hyperacuity Perimeter (RETINA 2011;Epub:1-7), “PHP has been shown to detect choroidal neovascularization with a sensitivity twice as high as the Amsler Grid.”

How Does It Work?

The patient looks into the device and responds to a set of different screens. The data from the daily monitoring is sent via a cell phone signal or a landline to a monitoring center. When any significant changes are detected the patient and the patient’s physician are immediately notified. Of course in order for this technology to be effective the patient needs to comply and use it regularly. If the Data Monitoring Center has not received any test results for seven consecutive days, they will contact the patient, thereby monitoring compliance as well as visual changes. Most users average 5 days per week of vision monitoring.
Leslie Degner, RN, BSN