The campaign aims to prevent the vision loss that can be avoided when a vision specialist is consulted regularly, before problems arise.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a serious and relatively common eye disease. In fact, it is the main cause of severe vision loss among people over 50, affecting some 300,000 Quebecers. The risks of developing the disease increase with age and, as the population ages, it is estimated that this number will triple over the next 25 years.
“It is vital that people over 55 have a regular eye exam,” says AQDM general manager Gérard St-Denis, who himself has AMD. “Early detection is critical and can have important repercussions on the lives of those diagnosed and those close to them. However, vision specialists agree that quick, timely treatment can limit vision loss when AMD occurs.”
According to Jacques Gresset, director of the Université de Montréal School of Optometry, healthy vision starts with an annual exam. “AMD creeps up on you with very few symptoms,” he says. “Thanks to specialized instruments, vision specialists can see the different retina layers, detect signs of AMD and, with treatment, halt its progress.”
AMD leads to either a gradual or a sudden loss of central vision. People with wet AMD can lose the ability to read, drive, cook and distinguish facial characteristics. The disease often results in a significant loss of autonomy, which has great impact on people’s lives and can cause anxiety, stress and even depression.
There is now a treatment that can slow the progression of wet AMD and even restore vision. This has drastically changed the lives of those diagnosed. However, treatment only works if people are diagnosed and treated quickly – as soon as the first symptoms emerge. “That’s why it’s vital to consult a vision specialist on a regular basis,” says St-Denis.
2010 Macular Degeneration Month
Several partners have made Macular Degeneration Month possible: the Association des optométristes du Québec, the Association des médecins ophtalmologistes du Québec, the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille, the Université de Montréal School of Optometry, Optelec Canada, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada, the FADOQ network and the Clubs Lion du Québec.
To learn more about Macular Degeneration Month, AMD and the importance of regular eye exams, please visit www.aqdm.org or call 514-937-1111 or 1-866-867-9389.
Note to editors:
The Université de Montréal name may be adapted to University of Montreal in English (never Montreal University).
On the Web:
For information on AMD, Macular Degeneration Month or the AQDM please contact Gérard St-Denis at 819-336-4187 or 819-479-4187.
For interviews with a vision specialist please contact Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins, press attaché, Université de Montréal, at 514-343-7593.