Sight matters: what would you miss most if you lost your vision?

Vision is a sense that most of us take for granted – an integral part of how we navigate, interact with people and live our lives in the world. But for people with retinal eye diseases, the ability to see is anything but certain.

visual-impairment_ga
GA causes dark or blurry patches to appear on the macula

To shine a light on what it means to lose one of our most important senses, we conducted a survey of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom (UK) to ask ‘what would you most miss doing if you lost your sight tomorrow?’

Here's what they said:

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Two in five respondents answered that they would miss seeing the people who are most important to them.4 Among those aged 25-35 years this was even higher – more than half said this is what they would miss most.4 People with GA have difficulty recognising faces,5 which can strongly impact their social life and often leads to feelings of isolation.

One in three said they would most miss getting around independently (driving, walking, etc.), and nearly one in five said they would most feel a loss when it comes to pursuing hobbies such as reading, browsing the internet, or photography.

Watching a film, seeing a loved one smile, driving to a concert – for many of the things we love doing most, sight matters. GA has a devastating impact on quality of life and there are no current approved treatments. People with GA can lose their ability to perform daily tasks such as reading or driving, severely reducing their independence.6,7,8 This progressive condition also affects overall quality of life - people with AMD report feelings of frustration, annoyance, and expresses concerns at coping with everyday life.9

Know the symptoms, and talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any loss of visual function.

References

1. Sunness JS. The natural history of geographic atrophy, the advanced atrophic form of age-related macular degeneration. Mol Vis 1999;5:25.
2. Sunness JS, et al. The long-term natural history of geographic atrophy from age-related macular degeneration: enlargement of atrophy and implications for interventional clinical trials. Ophthalmology 2007;114:271-7.
3. Lindblad AS, et al. Change in area of geographic atrophy in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study: AREDS report number 26. Arch Ophthalmol 2009;127:1168-74.
4. Roche data on file.
5. Sunness JS, Applegate CA. Long-term follow-up of fixation patterns in eyes with central scotomas from geographic atrophy that is associated with age-related macular degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol 2005;140:1085-93.
6. Brown JC, et al. Characterizing functional complaints in patients seeking outpatient low-vision services in the United States. Ophthalmology 2014;121:1655-62 e1.
7. Tschosik E, et al. Quantifying functional reading independence in geographic atrophy: the FRI Index. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015; 56(7):4789.
8. DeCarlo DK, et al. Driving habits and health-related quality of life in patients with age-related maculopathy. Optom Vis Sci 2003;80:207-13.
9. Hassell JB, et al. Impact of age related macular degeneration on quality of life. Br J Ophthalmol 2006;90:593-6.

Tags: Ophthalmology