Combined Approach May Decrease Depression Risk for Macular Degeneration

Pharmacy Times, August 2014 Pain Awareness, Volume 80, Issue 8

Integrating mental health and vision interventions in patients with age-related macular degeneration may decrease the risk for depressive disorders, the results of a recent study suggest.

The study, published online on July 9, 2014, in Ophthalmology, compared the efficacy of low vision rehabilitation combined with behavior activation and combined with supportive therapy to prevent depressive disorders among patients diagnosed with macular degeneration. Behavior activation aims to increase adaptive behaviors and achieve valued goals, while supportive therapy provides emotional support and controls for attention. A total of 188 patients with depressive symptoms were randomized to receive behavior activation or supportive therapy.

After 4 months, 12.6% of behavior activation patients developed a depressive disorder, compared with 23.4% of supportive therapy patients. Behavior activation was also associated with greater improvements of functional vision compared with supportive therapy, although the difference was not statistically significant. Behavior activation and low vision rehabilitation may prevent depression by keeping patients socially engaged, the study authors suggest.