Future ‘enormous burden’ of AMD predicted

GPs are likely to play a greater role in future in combatting the enormous predicted burden of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Australia, an expert says.

A Deloitte Access Economics report, commissioned by patient advocacy group the Macular Degeneration Foundation and released last week, estimates that without better prevention and treatment AMD prevalence could rise by 70% to affect 1.7 million Australians in the next 20 years.

Professor Robyn Guymer, deputy director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, and recipient of a major grant from the foundation, aims to identify AMD risk earlier by developing a suite of novel retinal imaging and functional techniques. 

“Up until now there’s been little point in GPs knowing if patients have early AMD because apart from general lifestyle advice, there has not been much that referring to an ophthalmologist can do,” Professor Guymer said.