The Effort To Put Age-Related Macular Degeneration On The Radar

AMD (or Age-Related Macular Degeneration) is a disease which affects 10M Americans and costs us more than $500M, but the efforts to focus on it are just beginning.

“AMD is a disease that affects the macula, the pencil eraser-size part of the retina where precise vision forms, resulting in the loss of central vision and making everyday activities like reading and driving much harder.” (Employee Benefit News, 4/15/12)

Some of the other data from the EBN article include:

  • Women are likely to be affected than males
  • Whites are more likely to be affected than other ethnic groups
  • The warning signs include:
    • Blurred vision
    • Straight lines appearing wavy

The article also has an interesting series of statistics from Human Capital Management Resources about how often eye doctors were the first to detect a disease:

  • 20% for diabetes
  • 30% for hypertension
  • 65% for high cholesterol

The article stresses the need for employers to understand the value of a vision care program especially as people get into their 50s and 60s. I certainly hear lots of people stressing eye care around diabetes, but it makes me think this question and action item should be included in more disease management and case management programs both as part of the assessment and the care plan.

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