Risk of Increased Blindness in COVID Confusion
Australia is facing a massive increase in the number of people who could unnecessarily lose their sight to wet age related macular degeneration (AMD) due to treatment cancellations caused by fear and confusion around COVID-19. One in seven Australians over the age of 50 have signs of AMD, and the incidence increases with age.
“Ophthalmologists are seeing a worrying increase in the number of people cancelling eye injections, said
Prof Paul Mitchell AO, internationally renowned ophthalmologist and National Research Advisor for Macular Disease Foundation Australia.
“In my own clinic, up to one third of patients with conditions such as wet (neovascular) age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) or diabetic macular oedema (DME) are skipping these crucial appointments. Wet AMD needs treatment for many years, while DME or diabetic retinopathy mostly needs treatment for one year or so, and may also need laser treatment. However, none of these people have, or are suspected to have, contracted the virus.