ASRS launches See for a Lifetime See a Retina Specialist education initiative

American Society of Retinal Specialists program to drive awareness and action around retinal diseases that put millions at risk for blindness.

In an effort to increase public awareness about common retinal conditions, the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) is launching an educational initiative to put the focus on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy.

The ASRS, the largest organization of retina specialists in the world, has launched the See for a Lifetime See a Retina Specialist educational initiative.

See for a Lifetime See a Retina Specialist will empower the public to care for their vision, understand the risk factors for retinal disease, know the signs, recognize the symptoms and find a nearby retina specialist for expert care to safeguard sight.

"This is an exciting time for patients with retinal diseases and for the retina specialists who treat them. Incredible advances in diagnostic and therapeutic advances now allow us to successfully treat conditions that just a generation ago typically led to legal blindness," ASRS President Carl C. Awh, MD, FASRS, said in a statement. "The fact that we have these effective treatments makes it more important than ever to educate patients and their families about ways to recognize, prevent, and treat retinal diseases. By doing so, we should be able to preserve, or even improve, the vision and quality of life of many."

A retina specialist made sure that Glen Washington's decades long career as a musician was not derailed when he faced a retinal disease. Washington has been singing and performing professionally with a band and as a solo artist since 1973. Managing his diabetes while maintaining a hectic travel schedule wasn't easy, and on a trip several years ago he began to experience symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, including blurred vision, which affected his ability to read and drive.

Washington was introduced to a retina specialist near his home and found out his condition could be treated and his vision improved with laser treatments and intravitreal injections, also known as eye injections. With ongoing treatment, Washington is back to performing, driving and can read even the smallest text which has helped him regain all of his independence.

The ASRS is educating the public to identify retinal disease risk factors and symptoms that can save their sight. The organization notes that early detection remains a game changer

The See for a Lifetime See a Retina Specialist initiative features consumer educational resources and communications tailored to patient advocacy organizations, healthcare professionals and policymakers, including an online patient portal with access to infographics, patient guides, a patient poster, Eye to Eye video seriesRetina Health for Life podcast seriespatient stories, condition specific fact sheets in English and Spanish, a find a retina specialist locator, and more.

"Through this initiative, we aim to make the public, as well as healthcare providers, aware of the most threatening retinal diseases, the major advances that have been made, and why it is important for patients with retinal conditions to see a retina specialist", Timothy G. Murray, MD, MBA, FASRS, President of the Foundation of the ASRS, said in a statement. "Additionally, given the complexity of our healthcare system, we want to elevate understanding among payers and policymakers that evidence-based, personalized care delivered by retina specialists leads to better patient outcomes."

More information and resources can be found at SeeforaLifetime.org.

See for a Lifetime is made possible in part through support from the Foundation of the American Society of Retina Specialists, Allergan, Genentech, Novartis, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.