PP-302 : Central point of view

Teresa Magalhães, Ana Rodrigues, Portugal
Review the Family Physician role in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) prevention, early diagnosis and management.

Articles’ search in PubMed, web resources of Evidence-based Medicine and Portuguese Ophthalmology Society, published from 2000, in Portuguese and English languages.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among the elderly. In this condition, central vision is lost, but peripheral vision almost always remains intact. There are some known risk factors. Disease prevention is possible acting in the modifiable risk factors. In early disease, visual acuity may be unchanged. AMD is a clinical diagnosis usually based on the presence of visual disturbances (blurred vision, scotomas), that frequently are imperceptible by the patient. This can be early detected using Amsler’s grid, an easy instrument that can be used in primary care. The patient is given a copy used in self-monitoring for the progression of disease. The family physician has an important role in psychological support and helping to plan adjustment strategies which improve their lives.

As life expectancy continues to increase, AMD will become an increasingly problem with consequences in the quality-of-life and psychosocial impact. In almost all cases it is possible to early diagnose AMD in primary healthcare, even before the onset of symptoms. With early detection of the disease physicians are able to be time-effective in referring patients to an ophthalmologist, thus improving disease prognosis. Risk factor should be prevented and functional restrictions should be minimized through adaptation strategies.