LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The AMD Alliance International today led an event at the House of Commons that addressed the current issues the NHS is facing with diagnosing, treating and managing the growing number of ageing people affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the western world. The event was hosted by Sir David Amess, Member of Parliament for Southend West and sponsored by Oraya Therapeutics, Inc.
The event brought together the RNIB, Macular Society, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Royal Colleges of Ophthalmology and Optometry, ophthalmologists, politicians, policy makers and patients to discuss the impact that AMD is having on the lives of our aging population, the cost to the NHS and how the burden could be eased. As a result of the day’s discussion, the group signed three key calls to action:
- Work to increase government funding to enable a greater number of eye clinics to meet the recommended waiting times for initial treatment of wet AMD patients by January 2017
- Enable early diagnosis of serious eye conditions by placing eye health screening at the heart of the primary care agenda, from school age through to later life
- Work to establish a national eye health registry to record all data from both primary and secondary care
“Our sight is something that we all take for granted before it starts to deteriorate,” said Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West. “Macular degeneration is a devastating disease that is affecting a growing number of people as our population ages. This government is committed to providing care and treatment for those with the condition and I shall be raising some of the points made at today’s event with my colleagues as we work to tackle preventable blindness.”
Commenting at the event, Jim Taylor, CEO of Oraya Therapeutics said; “We are extremely proud to have sponsored today’s event, which brought together such visionary individuals and organisations, all who are working for the common cause of improving the lives of AMD patients through earlier diagnosis and better treatments.”
The AMD Alliance also unveiled its Global Atlas which identifies the costs and burden of macular degeneration across the world, as well as highlighting actions that can be taken to bring about cost-effective relief and treatments. The UK and the USA were the first two countries covered, followed by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, Canada and Australia. The organization plans to extend this to five more countries in 2015.
Some interesting similarities and differences relating to AMD between the UK and US were uncovered through the Atlas research. For example, the UK has a lower rate of wet AMD, but higher rate of dry AMD per capita over 50 than the US. The two countries also have the same number of blind people per capita over 50, but the US has a higher rate of blindness due to AMD, suggesting perhaps that the UK is managing its AMD patients slightly better than the USA. This assumption is backed up by the findings that the US has a higher rate of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost to AMD than the UK and that we have a significant number of specialist government-funded AMD treatment centres and clinics, whereas the US don’t have any.
“The AMD Atlas that we commissioned has thrown up some interesting and perhaps surprising facts,” said Glendon Harris, CEO of AMD Alliance International. “Although we know that AMD care in the UK is still lacking, the Atlas shows that the UK is doing better than the US for example, in managing its patients. There are however still far too many people losing their sight due to macular degeneration because they were not diagnosed and treated early enough. Today’s event was another step forwards in our mission to prevent anyone with AMD from losing their sight.”
The AMD Alliance Global Atlas
If you would like to see a full copy of the Global Atlas, please email Glendon Harris at the address listed below.
About the AMD Alliance
The AMD Alliance International is the only international organisation in the world dedicated exclusively to promoting awareness and knowledge about macular diseases. It strives to bring knowledge, help and hope to affected individuals and families around the world through:
- Generating awareness and understanding of macular disease
- Promoting the importance of education, early detection, knowledge of treatment and rehabilitation options
- Preserving vision and improving the quality of life of individuals affected by macular disease
The AMDAI is a consortium of the world’s leading organisations in the field of research, vision and geriatrics consisting of 73 members located in 27 countries around the globe.
About Oraya Therapy
Oraya Therapy’s IRay device is an innovative and non-invasive therapy for wet AMD. The system uses low-voltage, stereotactic, X-rays to treat the diseased area of the retina. It is intended as a one-time, outpatient treatment used as an adjunctive to anti-VEGF. The treatment takes less than 20 minutes, with the aim of reducing the number of injections required while maintaining vision. Oraya Therapy may therefore reduce the burden of wet AMD on patients, caregivers, and the healthcare system.
Oraya Therapy is available at several private and NHS settings across the UK, including Sheffield, Birmingham, and Manchester. The UK was the first country in the world to offer the Oraya Therapy and has been joined by Switzerland and Germany.
About Oraya Therapeutics:
Oraya Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately held company developing innovative and non-invasive therapies for diseases of the eye. The company was founded in 2007. Its investors include Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, Domain Associates, Scale Venture Partners, and Synergy Life Science Partners. More information about Oraya Therapeutics can be found at www.orayainc.com