AMD Through the Eyes of the Patient

A meta-synthesis assessed what life is like for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including living with visual impairment, coping mechanisms, and how they experience medical care.

The review included 24 qualitative studies published in English or German journals that evaluated the experience of patients with AMD.

The three major themes that arose from the included studies were: (1) a life shaped by losses, (2) the burden of medical treatment, and (3) coping with vision loss. Visual impairment/vision loss significantly affects other domains of life, resulting in significant losses. Vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor therapy may slow down disease progression and be helpful for patients with wet AMD, but therapy poses a significant burden for patients.

Overall, the researchers said, most patients with AMD adapt to their visual impairment, and those with wet AMD who receive medical treatment incur a significant physical and psychological burden. Medical facilities need to recognize and address these burdens, according to the authors.

“New strategies need to be conceived to reduce the burden of medical treatment and to improve the dissemination of information about AMD,” the researchers concluded. They called for additional research into how rehabilitation services can help patients as they adapt during different disease stages.