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Call to reclassify eye condition

A group of healthcare experts has claimed that reclassifying age-related blindness will lead to improved treatment and benefits for thousands of patients.

AMD Alliance is calling for age-related macular degeneration to be treated as a chronic rather than an acute condition.

They warned that treating the condition as 'acute' instead of 'chronic' can decrease access, limit patient outcomes and potentially endanger sight.

The macula, which sits in the centre of the retina, is responsible for sharp details at the centre of the field of vision.

As the disease progresses central vision deteriorates, making it difficult for sufferers to complete tasks such as reading and driving.

Chronic disease is defined as persistent, generally incurable and requiring ongoing treatment.

The AMD Alliance is a group of UK and international healthcare experts and organisations, comprising 70 patient groups from 26 countries.

Narinder Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of the group, said: "The burden that this disease places on patients, caregivers, health care systems, and society at large can currently be relieved only through timely diagnosis, earlier intervention, and sustained therapy, all core practices for managing chronic conditions until there are newer, better treatments and hopefully one day a cure."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

AMD Alliance

We asked if you believe the condition should be reclassified. Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Definitely. My husband is a sufferer. He has been advised to seek prompt advice if he notices any further visual problems. He currently has to pay for a sight test with the optician although people with diabetes and glaucoma get free tests! AMD can cause sudden loss of vision and needs immediate assessment, therefore sight tests following diagnosis should be
free. Our optician is in full agreement" - Janet Cunniffe, Lancashire

"Yes. My father-in-law suffered with it and it was very definitely an ongoing chronic disease" - Barbara Wells, Dover

"Should be reclassified. I know someone with this and they need to be treated properly. Hope this means we see a change!" - Julia Shuliko, Greenford

"Yes I do. Macular degeneration is a dreadful disease and anything which can restore even some sight is a huge boon. I didn't realise so many people suffered from it" - Mark George, London