Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of permanent blindness in Americans, and it occurs as a result of aging. There aren’t any specific treatments or cures for AMD, but many optometrists and ophthalmologists will recommend their patients adhere to healthy lifestyle habits as a means to keeping their eyes healthy and slowing down the progression of AMD.
Researchers surveyed eye doctors to rate the strength of evidence for nutritional supplements in the prevention and treatment of AMD. Furthermore, eye doctors were asked about their sources of information regarding the benefits of these supplements to vision.
The cross-sectional study looked at four main areas: use of nutritional supplements, dietary advice, smoking and eye diseases, and strength of evidence and the sources of information regarding nutritional supplement interventions.
Optometrists were more likely to recommend nutritional supplements and provided more advice regarding diet compared to ophthalmologists for both patients with established AMD and those who may be at risk for it.
On the other hand, ophthalmologists were more likely to use evidence-based findings regarding eye diseases and studies on AMD, specifically.
Author of the study Lene Martin explained, “The role that optometrists play when discussing healthy lifestyle changes is currently a widely discussed topic. Ophthalmologists aren’t the only eye care professionals who meet patients at risk of or with AMD, and this paper summarizes neatly how optometrists can be increasingly involved in preventative strategies for AMD.”
Dr. Martin concluded, “more targeted education and implementation strategies may be needed for both optometrists and ophthalmologists.”