Assessing stress in AMD patients

New research has explored the relationship between psychological stress and age-related macular degeneration


Measuring stress levels using a simple rating scale could be a useful way of assessing the connection between stress and progressive vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

New research, published in Optometry and Vision Science, asked 137 patients with AMD to rate their stress levels using the Perceived Stress Scale. 

Ohio State University College of Optometry assistant professor, Dr Bradley Dougherty, told OT that the aim of the study was to see how the test performed among AMD patients.

“Though widely used in other areas of health care, there was limited data available on the measurement characteristics of the PSS in people with macular degeneration,” Dr Dougherty added.

Researchers found that the PSS did an “acceptable job” of measuring perceived stress in people with AMD, he continued.

It was also a fairly quick and easy test, Dr Dougherty highlighted.

Further investigations would involve assessing the relationship between stress and factors such as visual acuity, change in vision with treatment and self-reported visual function.

Researchers were also interested in examining whether the increased inflammation that can result from high levels of stress could negatively affect AMD treatment outcomes.

“We hope that, by developing a better understanding of the stress that accompanies vision loss from conditions like AMD, this research makes eye care providers more aware of the importance of detecting stress and considering options for stress reduction,” Dr Dougherty concluded.