“We need to distinguish between suffering and pain in our AMD patients”
Dr Jordi Monés MD, PhD, was one of the three scientific coordinators of the VisionArt symposium on innovation in the diagnosis and treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The event was organised by Novartis
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease in which the Institut de la Màcula specialises, is a pathology that causes the progressive loss of central vision, impacting both on the daily lives of our patients and their personal autonomy. It is predicted that the population of developed countries will be exposed to massive vision loss due to the growth in the numbers affected, as was noted during VisionArt. The scientific side of the symposium, organised by Novartis in Madrid, was led by the Director of the Institut de la Màcula, Dr. Jordi Monés MD, PhD, together with Dr Marta S. Figueroa and Dr Roberto Gallego-Pinazo.
VisionArt demonstrated its vocation to merge retinal medicine and art by combining actual clinical practice and an exhibition of images. Discussions were also held on the future of the retina.
In the discussion panel on AMD, Dr Jordi Monés said that suffering and pain are not the same: “Disease is 'pain', while 'suffering' is the emotional impact that depends on how patients are able to manage 'pain' because not everyone has the capacity to deal with it,” he said. "We need to distinguish between suffering and pain in our AMD patients.”
“Retinal specialists mainly concentrate on treating 'pain' but they should not ignore 'suffering', which also must be addressed and can actually change the quality of our patients’ lives and their peace of mind,” Dr Monés explained during the symposium.
The Director of the Institut de la Màcula said that "we must try to develop certain psychological strategies in the management of our fragile patients and also incorporate professional psychologists to treat the severest cases."
“Actually, psychological attention is what makes a difference for them and their families: addressing unvoiced fears, accepting the disease, developing new alternative capacities, switching hobbies, dealing with detachment, self-esteem and non-identification are extremely useful”, Dr Jordi Monés added. "Mindfulness helps."
Over the two days of VisionArt, international experts gave lectures on the future of AMD. Professor SriniVas R. Sadda, the President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Doheny Eye Institute (California, USA), focused his lecture on the importance of the classification and staging of atrophic AMD. Meanwhile, the talk given by Dr Pearse Keane, a specialist in Artificial Intelligence, was centred on the importance of including this technology in the diagnosis and treatment of AMD.