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The Betty White Interview (Page 1 of 2)

An Interview with Betty White

Betty WhiteYou can call Betty White by many recognizable names— Sue Ann Nivens, Rose Nyland, animal activist and now, leading advocate for senior eye health. Betty has become the spokesperson for “My Eye Health: In the Wink of an Eye,” a national campaign to educate Americans, in particular older ones, about age-related macular degeneration, also called AMD, and the importance of early detection and treatment. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 60.

About 15 million Americans — almost one in four over the age of 50 -- have AMD which may severely impact the ability to read, watch TV, drive or even recognize faces of family and friends. Editor-In-Chief Gary Barg sits down for an in-depth conversation with this legendary actress and dedicated advocate and Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito, Chairman of The University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

GARY BARG: A very important issue that caregivers are dealing with is age-related macular degeneration as it is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60. Can you tell me what it is exactly?

DR. PULIAFITO: Macular degeneration is a major public health issue for us now with so many seniors that are out there. There are two forms of macular degeneration – the dry form and the more serious wet form of AMD. What happens is the central part of your vision can be affected, the part of vision that you use to read, to recognize faces, to drive a car. And if you have the symptoms of blurry vision or wavy vision and you’re a senior, it may not be a cataract, it may not be glaucoma, it may be new wet AMD. You need to see your ophthalmologist because we have some great new treatments for wet AMD that can preserve or even improve your vision. It’s also very important to have a routine eye examination to know that you have the early signs of AMD and Betty will tell you about the great way to screen yourself.

BETTY WHITE: We’re having a whole campaign – a “My Eye Health Campaign”— for that very reason because so many don’t know what age-related macular degeneration is. They know about glaucoma, they know about other problems, but this is a mystery to them and we’re trying to spread the word that it’s something that’s the leading cause of blindness in people over 65.

GB: How would someone know for sure if they have AMD?

BW: You need to have an eye examination by your ophthalmologist to know for sure, but there’s a way you can even check yourself at home, which is a marvelous idea and it’s so important. A short time ago there was no such thing as any treatment; you just were stuck with it.

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