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AMD: Reading ability crucial indicator of functional loss

Study of the University of Bonn on functional tests in atrophic age-related macular degeneration
September 30, 2021

In geographic atrophy, a late form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), reading ability is closely related to the altered retinal structure. This has been demonstrated by researchers from the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital Bonn with colleagues at the National Eye Institute and the University of Utah. Reading speed makes everyday functional impairment measurable, which the most common functional test in ophthalmology – the best-corrected visual acuity assessment - cannot reflect. Retinal imaging can be used to assess loss of reading ability even when central visual acuity is still good. The study has now appeared in "JAMA Ophthalmology."

Both reading ability and reading speed proved to be important functional tests for clinical therapy studies. In contrast, the suspected phenomenon of "binocular inhibition" - a negative influence of the worse-seeing eye during reading - did not show up. Thus, future therapeutic approaches should focus primarily on the better-seeing eye to achieve an overall improvement in visual ability.