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Embracing A New Way of Detecting AMD

Timothy Earley, OD

Dr. Timothy Earley of Medina Vision Centre is passionate about subclinical age-related macular degeneration (AMD) detection because it isn’t just a professional concern, but a personal one. Both his mother and grandmother have AMD.

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Is AMD underserved by optometry?

I have felt for decades – for 22 years of practice – that AMD and the proper proactive management of that disease was underserved by optometry. And I have a mom who’s got AMD and I have a grandmother who went blind from AMD. And from that standpoint it’s personal. And you could probably tell from my voice that this is something I’m passionate about. Prior to dark adaptation, we were just looking at structure in the retina. We did not have a way to measure the functioning of the retina. However, I felt for a long time as though we were missing some of those really early cases. I’ve had a patient or two over the years who actually would convert
directly from no drusen to wet AMD without going through the typical drusen presentation that we’d expected most patients going through a dry stage into intermediate dry. Now I’m happy to say that we’re actually diagnosing the disease much earlier in its process and talking to patients about the beauty of being able to proactively manage that disease and have that conversation.

The AdaptDx Pro is going to be a game-changer in eye care practices

In my professional opinion, subclinical AMD is AMD. In our practice, the way that we approach it, any patient who fails dark adaptometry with a rod intercept time of over six and a half minutes has age-related macular degeneration and they’re going to be treated as such. The way we explain subclinical AMD to patients is that AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is a chronic condition and I would liken it to diabetes. There is a spectrum of disease. The AdaptDx Pro and even its predecessor, the tabletop version, are the only functional tests of the macula and how that macula is working in our patients everyday lives. From that standpoint, I believe that this technology is going to change the future of how we manage and treat our patients with even subclinical AMD. The AdaptDx Pro is going to be a game-changer in my practice. I have been a very big advocate of the tabletop version of the AdaptDx and have had a huge change in our practice from that technology being bought on board.

The paradigm shift in macular degeneration diagnosis and management

What the AdaptDx Pro will allow us to do is to not be encumbered or limited, I should say, by needing a dark room. Being able to test a patient in an examination lane or even in some cases in the reception area or a dilation area, is going to free up space, free up technician time, and having Theia, the artificial intelligence portion, guide our patients through the testing is going to lead to really really consistent results and consistent testing. This will be embraced by our older population; it’s much easier to get the test to the patient. They can do the test in an examination chair, we’re not moving patients from room to room – I think all the way around it’s going to be embraced by our by our patients. So my message to my colleagues is that there is a paradigm shift going on in macular degeneration diagnosis and management – it’s a great opportunity for optometry as a profession to get involved in the active and proactive management of AMD in our patients. I think it’s a huge opportunity for our practice and for our profession and something we should all be embracing if we’re going to dedicate ourselves to saving vision.