Campaign helps those with AMD live more independently

Posted: Wednesday 31 March 2021
Pat Butler with magnifier

Novartis, along with the support of the Macular Society and its members, has today launched a campaign to help those with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) continue to live more independently.

See What's Next, a website and disease awareness campaign, aims to empower people living with wet AMD to take an active role in the management of their condition, so they can maintain their independence for longer.

It is hoped the campaign will also help those who have missed vital appointments over the last few months, due to the pandemic.

Over the last 12 months, injections for eye conditions such as wet AMD were deemed essential and despite many ophthalmologists continuing to provide onsite and virtual care, many people living with wet AMD have missed essential support services.

Scheduled and attended eye appointments are down by as much as 35% compared to 2019. And, a report from some of the largest clinics in the country has shown that during the initial peak of the pandemic in April 2020, the number of new wet AMD referrals fell by 72% on average, with up to 25% of people with wet AMD not attending their appointments for treatment.

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said:  “During this particularly difficult period in which many have been shielding and possibly missing appointments, we’re excited to support Novartis with the launch of See What’s Next. We hope it will help people with wet AMD to navigate life with this chronic condition, in lockdown and beyond.”

Robin Hamilton, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Macular Society Trustee, added: “Treatment is vital to slowing the progression of wet AMD and to help people living with the condition to maintain as much vision as possible, so whether it’s for emergency advice, monitoring or treatment, it’s important to attend all essential eye appointments.”

“I want to assure patients that measures have been implemented to ensure our clinics are safe, so people should come forward for their checks and treatment when called to do so. I would encourage people living with AMD and their carers to make use of resources such as those featured on the See What's Next website to help them with day-to-day living and how to monitor any changes in vision from home.”

See What's Next will share practical information to help people with wet AMD manage daily activities and look out for signs of disease progression at home, as well as providing tips and tools for preparing for in-person and virtual appointments with their eye specialist.

The website provides practical resources to help people living with wet AMD and the friends or family who care for them better manage their condition, from tips on daily living, such as adaptations to make in the home, to advice for preparing and staying safe at appointments.

It also hosts a short questionnaire, which based on responses produces a tailored discussion guide including prompts to help patients maximise the time with their eye specialist at virtual or in-person appointments. 

Chinmay Bhatt, Managing Director UK, Ireland & Nordics for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said: “It’s more important than ever for people living with wet AMD to have access to information and resources to enable meaningful conversations with their eye specialist.”

“We are proud to be reimagining how people living with wet AMD and those who care for them are supported, even during these exceptional times, so they can be better prepared for daily life with their disease and continue to do the things they love for longer.”

The See What's next campaign has finished. For more information call the Macular Society's Advice and Information Service on 0300 3030 111.