Scientists Identify Reading Ability and Speed as Crucial Measures of Visual Decline for Age-Related Macular Degeneration Patients

Oct 18, 2021 12:00 PM


Researchers have confirmed reading ability and reading speed are important functional tests that can reflect the progression of AMD.
Researchers have confirmed reading ability and reading speed are important functional tests that can reflect the progression of AMD.

A research team including John A. Moran Eye Center scientists has identified reading ability and reading speed as key measures for evaluating visual decline in patients with dry, late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in industrialized countries and the number of people affected by late AMD is projected to hit 18.57 million by 2041. While some patients might have good visual acuity on an eye exam that uses the widely known Snellen chart, they report reduced reading ability in their daily lives.

Researchers including Moran’s Monika Fleckenstein, MD, and Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg, MD, evaluated 150 eyes of 85 patients in the context of the Directional Spread of Geographic Atrophy study, with Fleckenstein as principal investigator. Their work confirmed reading ability and reading speed are important functional tests that can reflect disease progression. The group outlined how clinical researchers can use both measurements to evaluate the efficacy of new AMD therapies during clinical trials.

Monika Fleckenstein, MD
Monika Fleckenstein, MD
Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg, MD
Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg, MD

Schmitz-Valckenberg and Fleckenstein are part of Moran’s Sharon Eccles Steele Center for Translational Medicine, which is developing new therapeutic strategies to slow or even halt the progression of AMD.

The paper, Association of Reading Performance in Geographic Atrophy Secondary to Age-Related Macular Degeneration With Visual Function and Structural Biomarkers, was published in JAMA Ophthalmology on Sept. 20.

Authors are: Sandrine H. Künzel, MD, Moritz Lindner, MD, Josua Sassen, MSc, Philipp T. Möller, MD, Lukas Goerdt, MD, Matthias Schmid, PhD, Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg, MD, Frank G. Holz, MD, Monika Fleckenstein, MD (corresponding author), and Maximilian Pfau, MD.

vision research age-related macular degeneration