CAMBRIDGE, Ma., May 5, 2013 – The Angiogenesis Foundation released a white paper, “Advocating for Improved Treatment and Outcomes for Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration” (AMD). Wet AMD is the most common form of blindness in people 50 years or older in developed nations. The report is based on the Australian Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration Coalition Expert Summit convened in Sydney, Australia last July by the Angiogenesis Foundation and Macular Degeneration Foundation, where multiple healthcare stakeholders gathered to address barriers to timely and optimal care for Australian patients who suffer from vision loss due to wet AMD. The document summarizes key discussions from the summit and makes specific recommendations aimed at informing national health services, the clinical and research community, and patient advocates.
The number of Australians with AMD is expected to grow to over 1.7 million by 2030, yet many patients do not currently receive timely care. The treatment window for wet AMD is relatively short, so any delay in treatment can mean the difference between retaining vision and developing blindness.
New therapies and diagnostic techniques have produced a paradigm shift in the diagnosis and treatment of wet AMD, specifically antiangiogenesis therapy and spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). These techniques—along with early diagnosis—can prevent, slow and, in some cases, even reverse vision loss. However, affordability has been a barrier for Australian patients, rendering a need for greater access to treatment.
“Wet AMD is a silent epidemic of the aging global population,” commented Dr. William Li, president of the Angiogenesis Foundation. “Helping the elderly preserve their vision through effective use of antiangiogenic treatments is an important way to ensure a high quality of life.”
The white paper provides an extensive analysis of the issues and needs for AMD patients in Australia’s healthcare system, and can be downloaded at www.scienceofamd.org/au-whitepaper.