Special contribution from Amy Hellem
Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, and several other age-related macular degeneration (AMD) experts also recently published a 12-page report titled, Practical Guidelines for the Treatment of AMD, which clearly and succinctly outlines best practices in AMD diagnosis and management.
In short, the guidelines say you should recommend the following to patients with all stages of AMD:
• Quit smoking
• Initiate supplementation
• Make necessary lifestyle modifications (diet, exercise, overall health maintenance)
• Manage systemic disease
• Consider retinal light protection options
This is precisely how Pam Lowe, OD, FAAO, approaches the disease in her practice. However, she admits that offering supplements in her practice wasn’t an easy decision. “I had to get past the idea that I was selling something and feel confident that I’m providing patients with what I feel is best for them,” she says. “Having nutraceuticals readily available in my office ensures my patient is getting what I prescribed instead of sending them to the confusing sea of vitamins in the marketplace.”
Offering supplements also helps contribute to practice profitability. But they aren’t the only source of added revenue that optometrists enjoy when they take a more active role in AMD diagnosis and management. In addition to the reimbursable dark adaptation test, additional necessary patient care is triggered by the inevitable increase in AMD diagnoses. For example, earlier diagnosis means increased exams, OCT scans, fundus photos and more. All of these benefit both the patient and the practice.
Having first established that dark adaptation testing would help her patients, new AdaptDx-user Amanda Lee, OD, says she and her partner crunched the numbers and determined that the technology would also easily pay for itself.
All of this spells good news for optometry and for America’s aging population. These doctors will continue to be the first line of defense against AMD and look forward to preserving their patients’ vision for decades to come.
Rod Intercept Removes Guesswork
The AdaptDx measures a patient’s rod intercept (RI) time. RI is the number of minutes it takes for the eye to adapt from bright light to darkness at a standard threshold stimulus level. The AdaptDx test provides clinicians with a simple output that requires no interpretation, providing a clear and objective measurement of retinal function with 90% sensitivity and specificity. An RI of less than 6.5 minutes indicates normal dark adaptation consistent with healthy photoreceptor function. An RI greater than 6.5 minutes indicates impaired dark adaptation, most often due to AMD in patients over age 60, unless there is a pre-existing hereditary retinal degeneration or significant vitamin A deficiency, which is rare in the United States.