If you have been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) your ability to ask the right questions and receive accurate information is crucial. This way, you can address appropriate options for treatment, rehabilitation and support services together with your eye care provider. The more you know about your condition and prospects the higher your chances of maintaining the highest possible quality of life.
In Living Well with Macular Degeneration , Dr. Bruce Rosenthal Chairman of the AMD Alliance International Scientific Advisory Board and Chief of Low Vision Services at Lighthouse International suggests the following questions to ask your doctor:
- Do I have dry or wet AMD?
- What is the extent of my vision loss, and what other changes might I expect?
- Can you tell how quickly my AMD is progressing?
- Can you see any symptoms in the other eye (if you only have it in one eye)?
- Will a change in my regular glasses help at all?
- What medical/surgical treatment might be appropriate for me?
- Should I watch for any particular symptoms and notify you if they occur?
- If my vision can't be corrected, can you refer me to a specialist in low vision?
- Where is the best place to call about vision rehabilitation?
- What can I do to protect or prolong my vision?
- Who can recommend a vitamin/mineral program for me that might be helpful?
In addition, Dr. Rosenthal recommends keeping a record of your condition and creating (or getting the doctor's office to help you create) a report from each visit to your doctor. The information you need:
- Current diagnosis
- Visual acuity measurement (the 20/20 to 20/? measurement in the US or 6/6 to 6/? in countries on the metric system)
- A description of the appearance of the retina and the macula
- Any procedures performed
- Any recommended medications or treatments
- Taking a friend or relative to the consultation with your doctor may help you remember all important pieces of information and give you confidence to ask these essential questions.
 Living Well With Macular Degeneration, Dr. Bruce Rosenthal and Kate Kelly. Penguin Putnam Inc., New York, 2001. If you would like to obtain a copy please contact:
The Lighthouse International
111 East 59th Street
New York, N.Y. 10022-1202
Tel: +1 (212) 821.9200 - www.lighthouse.org