Macular Degeneration and the Baby Boom Population

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Our vision is just one of the things that decrease with age. We may notice more difficulty driving at night. We might notice that it is harder to read smaller print on the TV. We also might have to increase our eyeglass prescriptions. There are also a variety of eye diseases that can occur as we age. Some of these diseases and vision problems can be corrected with prescriptions and medications, while others may require surgical procedures, such as diabetic retinopathy symptoms. Although medications may be an option for this disease, diagnosis is usually made when this is no longer an option.

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms vary, depending on the person and their level of the disease. However, the prevalence seems to be increasing as the baby boom generation reaches older ages. As the baby boom generation ages, and in the absence of further prevention and treatment advances, the prevalence of AMD is estimated to reach epidemic proportions of 6.3 million Americans by the year 2030. Without much in terms of treatment options, many of these baby boomers will be focusing on reduction of symptoms and macular degeneration surgeries.

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms can show up in a variety of ways. One person may experience entirely different symptoms than other does, sometimes making it difficult to diagnose. Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (non neovascular) or wet (neovascular). Neovascular refers to the growth of new blood vessels in an area, such as the macula, where they are not supposed to be. The dry form is more common than the wet form, with about 85% to 80% of AMD patients diagnosed with dry AMD. The wet form of the disease usually leads to more serious vision loss.

The wet form of the diabetic retinopathy symptoms also may be harder to treat with surgical procedures, making wet macular degeneration treatment more difficult. Patients with this rare form may find it more difficult to see and may experience more pain in the eyes. It is one of the most common causes of age related vision loss in those over the age of 65. Sometimes, medications can be used to prevent the excessive damage that is often common with the disease.

For example, Protocol T was able to identify a sub population of patients with DME that can be well managed using lower cost but effective drug therapies, a huge benefit when you consider that ranibizumab accounted for nearly 10% of the entire Medicare part B drug budget and was the program?s single largest expenditure (2010). These statistics are just a quick look into how common diabetic retinopathy symptoms are among those over the age of 65.

It is also important to provide those with macular degeneration the appropriate diabetic retinopathy patient education. The macular disease is so common among the baby boom generation, and yet, many are unaware of the disease, the symptoms, and the options for treatment of symptoms. Medical providers need to do more to provide awareness so that the symptoms of the disease can be diagnosed quicker. The sooner that the disease is noticed, the more options that a patient may have. It can also cut down on macular pucker surgery recovery time, which is a quick surgery that often provides good recovery results.

As the baby boom generation ages, the country is likely to take a larger hit on medical expenses. One of the most common conditions that this generation will experience is diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration. Although there are treatment options for this disease in both medications and surgical procedures, many people are unaware of these options. The path to diagnosis is often long, and people may simply believe their vision is getting worse just because of their age. We need a stronger push towards education and symptom reduction options to handle the large generation of people who are likely to experience these symptoms.




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