A monthly eye doctor’s appointment can be onerous for some people, but if you have the “wet” form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), your vision could depend on it, suggest the findings of a study in JAMA Ophthalmology.
It included 1,778 people (average age 79) with AMD who participated in a two-year clinical trial comparing injectable drug treatments for the condition, the leading cause of vision loss in people over 50. All study participants were supposed to visit their ophthalmologist monthly, and all of them received an intravitreal (into the eye) injection either at every visit or only if there was retinal “wetness.” (There was no placebo group.)
Compared to people who made it to all or most of their appointments—that is, every 28 to 35 days on average—those who went 36 to 60 days between visits lost the ability to recognize six more letters on a standard visual acuity chart, on average, over the course of the study. Those who went more than two months between visits lost almost 13 letters. The findings applied regardless of which treatment the individual was receiving.
The results “suggest that substantial effort should be expended to strive for visit adherence or new therapies that reduce the visit burden” for people with AMD, the authors concluded.