Friday, 10 May 2013

RNIB's new report "Don't lose sight"! Don't delay!" - Help for Constituents

From: Clarke, Katherine [mailto:Katherine.Clarke@rnib.org.uk]
Sent: 09 May 2013 11:45
To: JONES, Graham
Subject: Help for your Constituents

Dear Mr Jones, RNIB's new report "Don't lose sight"! Don't delay!" http://bit.ly/X96uxp reveals that your constituents' lack of knowledge about the early signs of wet age related macular degeneration (AMD) is leading to unnecessary sight loss. Wet AMD is an eye condition that affects 40,000 over 50s every year. Sight loss from Wet AMD can be prevented if people get treatment when they notice the early signs: a sudden change in vision such as faces become blurry or that straight lines appear wavy. Our report reveals that far too many people are unaware of the signs of wet AMD and do not seek immediate treatment. Your constituents can find out more by calling RNIB's helpline on 0303 123 9999 or googling ‘Spot the Signs’.

You can take action to prevent sight loss!

*Tweet: raise awareness of the early signs of wet AMD by re/tweeting our message about the importance of spotting the signs of wet AMD www.twitter.com/rnib_campaigns shown in our report http://bit.ly/X96uxp

*Speak out in the media: use our press release (below) to raise the profile of the early signs of wet AMD in your area. You can even get statistics on the prevalence of wet AMD in your area using our sight loss data tool in ‘notes to editors’.

*Order a poster: place one of our "Spot the Signs" wet AMD posters in your constituency surgery to raise awareness of the early signs of wet AMD– order one now by contacting campaigns@rnib.org.uk

To find out more about our campaign contact my colleague Clara Eaglen on 020 7391 2302 or clara.eaglen@rnib.org.uk.

Thank you for joining the fight against preventable sight loss.
Steve Winyard
Head of Policy and Campaigns
RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People)
105 Judd Street, London, WC1H 9NE

RNIB's "Spot the Signs" campaign to fight against avoidable sight loss,

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to urge constituents in Hyndburn to learn how to spot the signs of wet AMD, the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK (1), so they can act quickly. RNIB can help you understand the early signs of wet AMD - just google Spot the Signs.

Lack of awareness is risking thousands of people's sight each year. Nearly half of adults (48 per cent) have never heard of Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and only just over a third of adults (36 per cent) would make an appointment with their GP or optician straight away if they started experiencing blurry vision or wavy lines (2).

RNIB's 'Spot the signs' campaign to encourage over 50s to recognise the early signs of AMD. These are:

• Straight lines start to appear wavy, curved or distorted.
• Small print becomes difficult to read even when wearing reading glasses
• People’s faces start to appear blurry.

There are two main types of AMD, wet and dry. There is no current treatment for dry AMD but sight saving treatment is available for the wet type if diagnosed in time.

About 40,000 people develop wet AMD each year (3), however both the public and medical profession are failing to recognise the urgency needed to diagnose and treat the condition which can take your eye sight in as little as three months.

Research commissioned by RNIB, as part of its wider Save our Sight (SOS) campaign, found that many patients were not aware of the symptoms of wet AMD or the need for urgent treatment (4).

RNIB's research report - Don't lose sight! Don't delay! - reveals:

Nearly 60 per cent of patients were unaware of the condition despite having dry AMD - a more gradual loss of sight which cannot be treated but can develop into the wet form (5)

Just under 70 per cent of patients were not diagnosed within seven days - in accordance with professional guidance - increasing their chances of permanently losing their central vision (6) Smoking is a risk factor, with smokers twice as likely to develop AMD than non-smokers. Studies show that stopping smoking can reduce your risk of developing AMD (7).

Steve Winyard, Head of Policy and campaigns at RNIB, said: "We welcome the support of Graham Jones MP in raising awareness of the signs of wet AMD. Losing your central vision can have profound consequences, with many people unable to carry out basic tasks such as driving, chopping vegetables, reading a newspaper or writing a shopping list. However, it doesn't have to be this way and people need to be aware of the early sign of wet AMD so they can act quickly and avoid sight loss."

"We're encouraging people over 50 and the medical profession to find out how to spot the signs of wet AMD and understand why it's important to act quickly. About 40,000 people develop wet AMD each year but the deterioration of your sight can be managed with treatment, if caught in time."

To find out more on how to Spot the signs of AMD and other eye diseases visit www.rnibspotthesigns.org.uk or call RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999.

Notes to Editors
A copy of the report is available on request. Photographs illustrating how some UK landmarks would look to someone with AMD are also available, along with images depicting AMD.

RNIB's sight loss data tool can tell you how many people in your county have wet AMD:

http://www.rnib.org.uk/aboutus/Research/statistics/Pages/sight-loss-data-tool.aspx

References

(1+2) All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2151 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27 February and 1 March 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

(3) The estimated prevalence and incidence of late stage age related macular degeneration in the UK:

Christopher G Owen, Zakariya Jarrar, Richard Wormald, Derek G Cook, Astrid E Fletcher, Alicja R Rudnicka. Published in British Journal of Ophthalmology, on February 13, 2012.

(4) Spot the signs is part of the SOS campaign which aims to challenge unnecessary sight loss, encourage regular eye checks and promote the importance of timely access to vital treatment.

(5) Don't lose sight! Don't delay! Based on 62 patient interviews who were diagnosed with wet AMD post-Lucentis (NICE approved drug for use in wet AMD); Page 15

(6) Don't lose sight! Don't delay! Based on 62 patient interviews who were diagnosed with wet AMD post-Lucentis (NICE approved drug for use in wet AMD); Page 22 The Royal College of Ophthalmologists guidelines state that patients should be diagnosed within one week, and treated within a further week of diagnosis - a total of 14 days.

(7) Evans, Fletcher and Wormald (2005): 28,000 cases of AMD causing visual loss in people aged 75 years and above in the United Kingdom may be attributable to smoking. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2005, 89, 550-553.

About RNIB's research

RNIB commissioned The Campaign Company to conduct the research. It aims to better understand the different perspectives of patients, carers, clinicians, commissioners and other professionals who work in a clinical environment, and from this develop a rounded picture of wet AMD care.

In-depth telephone interviews were conducted as part of the qualitative research. This involved 163 people across the UK and included patients, carers, commissioners, clinicians and others who work in the clinical environment.

About RNIB

We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). We're here for everyone affected by sight loss - that's almost 2 million people in the UK. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk

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