Educational format providing pipeline of information about complicated disease By
SightMatters is a consumer-oriented website that provides patients with answers to questions about the complexities of age-related macular degeneration.
Reviewed by Rishi P. Singh, MD
A new website launched in February is an educational online resource that was designed specifically to help patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The website, SightMatters (Bausch + Lomb), fills an online need, in that, it is the first such consumer-oriented website that provides patients with answers to questions about this complex disease.
From a physician’s point of view, Rishi Singh, MD, explained that more often than not, retina specialists are finding that patients research and learn about their disease state before presenting for an examination. In the ever-growing digital environment today, patients are frequently turning to Facebook, Instagram, social media platforms, or web searches to find related information.
“SightMatters provides patients with non-branded information regarding what to expect during screening examinations, the nature of treatments, disease characteristics, and possible tests and treatment outcomes,” said Rishi Singh, MD.
“The website definitely has a place in helping to promote improvement of vision and screening of visual diseases in our patients.” Dr. Singh is associate professor of Ophthalmology, and staff physician, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland.
The SightMatters website provides comprehensive information about AMD that includes an explanation of AMD, what to expect from the disease, news and research about the disease, and a glossary of medical terminology associated with AMD.
Stepping beyond that, it provides patients with an opportunity to formulate a disease action plan, ways to protect their vision, tools and guides such as the ability to download the Amsler grid to monitor vision, and questions to ask their physicians.
RELATED: Macular Degeneration Association unveils AMD Centers of ExcellencePatients also can access other organizations such as the Prevent Blindness website for more information and audio recordings, videos, and webinars that offer practical tips to aid independent living.
Another site, MD Support, is run by patients with AMD, and provides access to other agencies and low-vision centers. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation also is providing information about AMD, including a directory of eye care professionals, low-vision centers, and the results of recent research studies.
Patients have the option of joining SightMatters, the benefits of which include a welcome kit sent through the mail that contains AMD tools and resources, newsletters, and postcards with the latest news, and coupons for use toward purchasing the Preservision AREDS2 vitamin (Bausch + Lomb).
Another option lists questions posed by patients with answers provided by retina specialists. Patients can also describe their experiences living and coping with AMD.
“The website does a great job of describing disease states and their impact on activities of daily living, in a manner understandable to patients,” Dr. Singh concluded. “For me, the website is an adjunct to my office examinations because the information is so straightforward for the patients, which helps me be a more efficient clinician, and answer their questions.”
RELATED: Determining DR progression: Much work still needs to be done
Rishi P. Singh, MD
Dr. Singh, a consultant to Bausch + Lomb, has no financial interest in any aspect of this report. He is a speaker on SightMatters.