Patients with early age-related macular degeneration who have night vision problems are more likely to progress to advanced AMD, found researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

This research, published in the November issue of Ophthalmology, is important not only because it confirmed that assessing night vision helps predict AMD progression, but also because it offered a simple and inexpensive method for doing so.

Specifically, the researchers gave a 10-item self-assessment questionnaire to 1,052 patients with early AMD. The questionnaire asked about difficulties of poor night vision, such as having trouble reading street signs while driving at night and problems adjusting to the dark when entering a theater.

At six-year follow-up, data analysis showed that patients who had the worst night vision at baseline were the most likely to develop geographic atrophy (dry AMD) and choroidal neovascularization (wet AMD), and visual acuity loss (three or more lines of vision).

Such a questionnaire could be an easy and inexpensive way to spot these patients and intervene early, the researchers suggest.

Because of the ease of ascertainment compared with testing dark adaptation or rod sensitivity, assessing night vision symptoms may be useful in identifying patients with early or intermediate AMD who are at a relatively high risk of progression, they conclude.


Ying GS, Maguire MG, Liu C, Antoszyk AN; Complications of Age-related Macular Degeneration Prevention Trial Research Group. Night vision symptoms and progression of age-related macular degeneration in the Complications of Age-related Macular Degeneration Prevention Trial. Ophthalmology 2008 Nov;115(11):1876-82.

Vol. No: 145:12Issue: 12/15/2008