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Healthcare professionals have cited that delayed treatment and non-continuation of treatment are concerning issues affecting wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Multiple factors can present barriers for patients to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.

It is imperative that individuals with AMD are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease and follow a professionally advised treatment plan. However, many patients do not follow these recommendations. Researchers sought to analyze data regarding geographic location and socioeconomic status to determine how these factors might affect wet AMD treatment adherence.

This retrospective, cross-sectional study analyzed census-tract level data from previous clinical trials. Researchers calculated the driving distance and time it would take the patient to drive to the nearest clinical trial site. A total of 42 wet AMD trials that occurred in 829 unique geographical clinical trial sites were identified.

The researchers discovered that a driving distance greater than 60 miles was significantly associated with patients who resided in rural locations, particularly in the Midwest and South, and who had completed some college or an associate’s degree as opposed to a bachelor’s degree.

The likelihood that a patient would need to travel more than 60 miles was associated with areas whose census cited a higher percentage of the population that lived below the federal poverty line. Similar discoveries were made for the minutes traveled. It was concluded that geographic access disparities exist for patients with wet AMD. A call to action is made for more accessible healthcare options for those afflicted with wet AMD [1].

Source:

[1] Soares, R. R., Gopal, A. D., Parikh, D., Shields, C. N., Patel, S., Hinkle, J., Sharpe, J., Ho, A. C., Regillo, C. D., Haller, J., & Yonekawa, Y. (2021). Geographic access disparities of clinical trials in neovascular age-related macular degeneration in the United States. American Journal of Ophthalmology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2021.04.001

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