The Sightrisk AMD Calculator is a unique online analytical tool that assesses a person's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration
Why the need for a risk calculator?
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world, and the numbers of people suffering from this disease are expected to double by 2020, due to increasing longevity and growing world population. The socio-economic costs of blindness due to AMD are significant, and the individual with this blinding condition suffers from decreased independence and quality of life. There is no known cure for AMD; however there are established risk factors that, once identified, are modifiable and can help reduce the risk of developing this disease. The Sightrisk AMD Calculator identifies an individual's risk factors and provides advice on how to reduce this risk.
How was the Calculator developed?
The Sightrisk AMD Calculator is embedded into Sightrisk’s own proprietary software and was developed by the Sightrisk team following a detailed review of the scientific literature (over 300 published scientific manuscripts). The Sightrisk team comprises specialists across a number of relevant disciplines, including ophthalmology, nutrition & vision science, optometry, mathematics, physics and statistics.
In an ideal world, all possible scenarios with respect to risk for AMD would be researched (e.g. smokers, overweight smokers, individuals with hypertension, healthy and unhealthy diets, and all possible combinations of these risk factors). Obviously, many studies have already been conducted, and research in this area is ongoing. However, due to the large number of established and putative risk factors, it would be impossible to research all possible combinations.
Online percentage risk result
Hosted online, the Sightrisk AMD Calculator is capable of processing a patient’s ocular and non-ocular details in realtime and of providing an estimate of the overall risk of an individual patient developing visually consequentially AMD at any given age between 55 and 100 years. This estimate is achieved using a mathematical model, which computes a composite percentage risk based on the risk factors. The lower and upper limits for the calculated risk are 5% and 95%, respectively.
It is also important to note that the Sightrisk AMD Calculator does not simply add together, or average out, risk factors; this would produce a meaningless and valueless result. Instead, it uses a unique statistical approach which allows for the fact that it is unlikely that an individual will be under attack from one risk factor only, and also that no two individuals are the same.
Proactive risk reduction
Each risk factor is weighted according to its reported contribution to risk for visually consequential AMD. In this way you, as the eyecare professional, can monitor your patient’s risk for AMD in a way that reflects the patient’s current risk profile.
Using evidence-based feedback and the software’s graph-based reports, you can display to the patient there and then the reduction in risk for this blinding disease if they adopt your recommendations: for example, the cessation of smoking and/or the introduction of appropriate nutritional antioxidant supplements. The dynamic of the assessment being made in realtime and in a user-friendly way increases the likelihood of positive modification of lifestyle by the patient.
In addition, the Sightrisk AMD Calculator is capable of incorporating clinical details, where available, into the model; for example, presence of drusen (a clinical feature of early stage disease) or a patient’s macular pigment level (a yellow pigment in the centre of the retina believed to protect against disease). It is important to note that such clinical factors are not essential for the software to work, but such information will indeed strengthen the model.
Finally, the Sightrisk AMD Calculator is designed so that it can be readily and quickly updated to reflect the latest advances in research. The fact that it is hosted online brings with it the enormous advantage of enabling rapid updating for subscribers. As a result of this future-proofed approach to its design, the Sightrisk AMD Calculator will never be out of date!