Prevalence and Public Awareness for DME and AMD


Carl D. Regillo, MD, FACS; Michael A. Klufas, MD; and David R. Lally, MD, discuss how increasing awareness regarding AMD and DME among patients and the medical community may lead to early treatment interventions.

Carl D. Regillo, MD, FACS: Hello, and welcome to this HCP Live Peer Exchange titled, “Advances in the Clinical Management of Diabetic Macular Edema and Age-Related Macular Degeneration.” I'm Carl Regillo. I'm a retina specialist at Mid Atlantic Retina, and Director of the Wills Eye Hospital Retina Service, and Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Joining me is Dr. Michael Klufas, also retina specialist, and in practice with me at Mid Atlantic Retina and Wills Eye Hospital. He's an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University. Joining us virtually, Dr. Blake Cooper, also a retina specialist at Retina Associates LLC in Kansas City, Missouri. And Dr. Dave Lally, retina specialist at the New England Retina Consultants in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. Welcome, everybody. Today we're going to discuss a number of topics pertaining to the treatment landscape for the management of diabetic macular edema and neovascular age-related macular degeneration. We will review available and emerging treatment options, highlighting recent approvals, and novel investigations. Welcome, everyone. Let's get started.

Dave, can you help us by briefly providing an overview of Diabetic Macular Edema and neovascular AMD?

David R. Lally, MD: Thank you, Carl, for having me today. If we start with macular degeneration, it's characterized by central loss of vision, typically in the elderly population and it is the number one cause of severe vision loss and blindness in patients over the age of 60. If we look at diabetes and diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, that is the number one cause of severe vision loss in the working population. Both of these diseases have high prevalence and both of them we expect the prevalence to rise over the next few decades.

Carl D. Regillo, MD, FACS: Thanks, Dave. These are major public health problems. They are the two most common conditions we deal with as retina specialists. And we now have good treatments, but treatments need to be delivered in a timely fashion to get good outcomes. Mike, in your experience, what is the general awareness of these conditions—DME and AMD—in our patients and us as clinicians?

Michael A. Klufas, MD: Great question. And I think it's actually changing quite a bit in 2022. We have our retiree age population interacting on social media, learning about new treatments for neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Even in the Super Bowl this year, there was an ad about screening for getting your eyes checked for diabetic retinopathy. Other technologies like telemedicine are providing screening for our patients maybe when they get their A1C checked. So there are a lot of different avenues for our patients to obtain information. And of course, we have national societies such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology and state societies that provide a role for the retina specialist in treating for these retinal vascular conditions.

Carl D. Regillo, MD, FACS: I agree. It's certainly getting better. I can recall 20 years ago, before we had effective treatments for AMD, for example, not many people really heard about it; not many people knew about it. But that public awareness is getting better, and as you say now with different avenues to obtain information it's going to be good for our patients to know about the conditions so that we can get to this promptly, get good treatment on board.

Michael A. Klufas, MD: And diabetes is a major public health problem. People used to joke, it's just people in New Orleans eating beignets. But every single state in the United States has an increasing incidence and prevalence of diabetes and therefore cases of diabetic retinopathy, which are coming into our clinic day after day.

Carl D. Regillo, MD: And patients are living longer, so AMD is becoming a bigger problem for us too.

Michael A. Klufas, MD: Agreed.

Transcript Edited for Clarity

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