North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

April 15, 2009

Warrior optometrist installs new tool in fight against AMD

Special to The North Jefferson News

A Warrior optometrist has a new tool in the fight against age-related macular degeneration.

Dr. Faye Andrews of Warrior Eye Care recently installed a diagnostic device called the Foresee PHP that can provide early detection of the disease, according to a press release.

There are two stages of AMD known as dry and wet. The dry stage is broken down into two phases, early and intermediate. These phases represent a progression of the disease, but the real change occurs once a patient with intermediate, dry AMD converts to wet AMD. At this conversion point, sight becomes threatened and can deteriorate quickly.

With new advances in drug therapies showing great promise in halting the progression of AMD, it has become imperative to detect this conversion from dry to wet AMD earlier.

“Using traditional diagnostic techniques, a large percentage of AMD patients have already suffered vision loss at the time of their diagnosis,” Andrews said. “The Foresee PHP symbolizes hope to the roughly eight million Americans that already have intermediate AMD and are at risk of developing wet AMD. It takes the responsibility for monitoring AMD changes away from patients and rightfully places it in the hands of eye care specialists.”

Eye care specialists have continually struggled to effectively diagnose the conversion from an intermediate to a wet stage of AMD. The standard practice of patient self-monitoring uses a sheet of paper with a series of grid lines on it called the Amsler grid. Patients are supposed to hang this paper in their home and look at it each day.

When the lines of the grid appear curved the patient has experienced the conversion from dry to wet AMD. However, just as the brain compensates so people don’t notice their blind spot, it also compensates for what the eye actually sees when looking at the grid, meaning by the time the lines appear curved, vision loss already has occurred, thus making the Amsler test wholly inadequate.

Andrews said the diagnostic device will ultimately change the way AMD is monitored.“

“It has been clinically proven to detect conversion to wet AMD early and with high accuracy,” Andrews said. “By using the Foresee PHP, eye care specialists will have an opportunity to play a vital role in substantially reducing the number of patients who are victims of AMD, the world’s leading cause of blindness.”

Dr. Faye Andrews recommends at-risk patients with intermediate, dry AMD have this simple diagnostic test performed four times a year. To schedule an appointment, call 647-3937.