• Artificial intelligence (AI) is being developed to detect AMD disease and those who have the highest risk of progression, which may help increase the ability of people to be screened without overwhelming the healthcare system.
  • New drugs for wet AMD, such as Faricimab (Vabysmo), which has recently become available in Canada, promise greater duration of action, and new treatments for dry AMD are on the horizon.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of vision loss for people over the age of 55 and today, affecting approximately 2.5 million Canadians. As February marks AMD Awareness Month, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is educating Canadians about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment, along with vision care innovations that will play a key role in slowing down the progression of this eye disease.

“While AMD affects older people, we want to emphasize the importance of being proactive about vision health in your earlier years to minimize the risk of getting this vision-stealing eye disease in the future,” says Dr. Phil Hooper, president of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “There is no cure however there are new medications for wet AMD becoming available that may provide greater duration of action, along with drugs to slow the progression of dry AMD, and innovations such as AI to help detect the eyes which have the greatest risk for progression.”

AMD is a degenerative disease that happens when part of the retina called the macula is damaged. It’s the part of the eye that delivers sharp, central vision needed to see objects straight ahead. Over time, the loss of central vision can interfere with everyday activities, such as the ability to drive, read and see faces clearly. According to the COS, AMD accounts for 90 per cent of new cases of legal blindness in Canada.

Advancing eye health: Innovations driving access and treatment

Ophthalmology is a medical discipline that’s constantly evolving and within AMD care specifically, there is progress in the treatment and diagnosis of AMD, including:

  • Advanced detection with AI: AI-assisted screening may speed detection of patients at highest risk of progression at an earlier stage potentially improving long term treatment outcome, particularly for those with dry AMD. Using AI to detect diseases, such as AMD, and those with increased risk of progression, may increase the number of people who can be assessed for eye disease without overwhelming the healthcare system.
  • New medications to treat wet AMD: Medications, such as Faricimab (Vabysmo), which has recently become available in Canada, promise greater durability of effect, and the potential for fewer injections needed to stabilize vision.
  • The development of treatments to slow the progression of dry AMD: Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease and progresses more slowly, however this form of the disease produces considerable disability as well. It appears that newly developed medications such as pegcetacoplan (SYFOVRE) can slow the progression of the disease over time and preserve visual function.

Though age is the most significant risk factor for developing AMD, you may be more likely to develop AMD if you have one or more of the following: lightly pigmented eyes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, smoking history, are overweight, frequently eat foods high in saturated fat (e.g., butter, cheese) or a family history of AMD.

To learn more about AMD, its risk factors, diagnosis and treatment visit www.see the possibilities.ca.

About Canadian Ophthalmological Society

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is the national, recognized authority on eye and vision care in Canada. As eye physicians and surgeons, we are committed to assuring the provision of optimal medical and surgical eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice. Our membership includes over 900 ophthalmologists and 200 ophthalmology residents. We work collaboratively with government, other national and international specialty societies, our academic communities (ACUPO), our provincial partners and affiliates and other eye care professionals and patient groups to advocate for health policy in Canada in the area of eye and vision health. The COS is an accredited, award-winning provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). For more information, visit cos-sco.ca.

SOURCE Canadian Ophthalmological Society

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