The AQDM launches an awareness campaign to put a stop to unnecessary blindness

    The AQDM supports the need for prevention and treatment of the leading
    cause of blindness, age-related macular degeneration

    MONTREAL, July 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The Association québécoise de la
dégénérescence maculaire (AQDM) is launching with the support of the Quebec
government a campaign to prevent Quebecers from succumbing to preventable
blindness. This well-timed announcement was made today at Vision 2008, the 9th
International Conference on Low Vision, being held this year in Montreal that
brings together more than 1,200 researchers and clinicians as well as other
professionals working low vision rehabilitation.
    The AQDM regional tour, which will stop in 22 cities across the province
in 2008 and 2009, will raise awareness that when wet age-related macular
degeneration (AMD) is treated in time, unnecessary blindness can be prevented
and some vision can even be regained. The campaign will help people over the
age of 50 who are most at risk, have a greater understanding of this
progressive disease that, left untreated, can cause rapid and severe central
vision loss in a matter of weeks to months.
    "The Quebec government is proud to partner with the AQDM on this
important initiative because Wet AMD is a condition that can have a
devastating effect on the patient and the entire family," according to
Marguerite Blais, the Quebec Minister responsible for seniors. "With this
regional awareness tour we hope that patients will react faster to go see
their doctor and may save their sight and independence."
    Last year, the Quebec government demonstrated leadership in the fight
against vision loss by being the first province in Canada to partially cover
an innovative new medication and the only approved drug for wet AMD patients
that has been shown to improve vision.
    "No Quebecer should face unnecessary vision loss. This is what happened
to me and I did not realize until it was too late. In a three week period, I
lost my sight, my independence and a part of my life," says AQDM President,
Gérard St-Denis. "Now there is hope but patients need to react fast and know
what symptoms to look for to be treated in time. Vision loss is not a natural
part of the aging process and should not be accepted."
    Wet AMD affects a very small and specialized area in the centre of the
retina, the macula, which is responsible for fine, detailed central visual
tasks. Without treatment, AMD can take away central vision and lead to
blindness. In Canada, AMD incidence rates are expected to double within the
next 25 years.
    "Wet age related macular degeneration, when left untreated can have
devastating and irreversible effects," said Dr. Pierre Labelle,
Ophthalmologist, Centre Michel-Mathieu, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont,
Montreal. "We hope that by educating Quebecers to recognize the signs and
symptoms, patients and their physicians can better manage wet AMD before it
progresses and give them a real chance to not only save their eyesight but
keep their independence.
    The AQDM urges Quebecers with wet AMD to consult their physician to find
out if treatment is suitable in their case and invites people visit their
website at for more information about AMD, its symptoms,
prevention and treatment.
    The AQDM also urges the province to allow treatment for patients not yet
covered, who, left untreated, may see their condition evolve to preventable

    About the Association québécoise de la dégénérescence maculaire

    The Association québécoise de la dégénérescence maculaire is a non-profit
organization with the mission to foster autonomy and facilitate the mutual
support of those with macular degeneration. The Association refers these
individuals to existing medical, technological and social resources. It also
informs patients about prevention methods and treatment as well as research
carried out around the world. The AQDM's goal is to educate health care
practitioners and the general public about the challenges of this largely
misunderstood disease.

    Regional tours dates

    Please visit for additional detail.


    July 29             Fatima, Iles de la Madeleine
    August 25           Val-d'Or
    September 9         Québec
    September 10        St-Jérôme
    September 11        Repentigny
    September 15        Montreal
    September 24        Gaspé
    September 25        Bonaventure
    October 7           Matane
    October 8           Rimouski
    October 9           Rivière-du-Loup
    November 4          Gatineau


    January 18          Granby
    January 25          St-Hyacinthe
    February 9          Baie Comeau
    February 10         Sept-Iles
    February 17         Trois-Rivières
    March 3             Drummondville
    March 4             Magog
    March 5             Lac-Mégantic
    March 17            Victoriaville

For further information:

For further information: Geneviève Déry, HKDP Communications and public
affairs, (514) 395-0375 ext 232,

Organization Profile

Association québécoise de la dégénérescence maculaire (AQDM)

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