Award for AMD research

Prof. Gerd Geerling, president of the German Ophthalmologist Association DOG, presenting the award to Dipl.-Ing. Anne Thier (r.). (Photo: Felix Faller)

Hamburg/Brandenburg an der Havel, 30 September 2022

This year’s research award of the German foundation for macular diseases (Deutsche Maculastiftung) goes to Dipl.-Ing. Anne Thier for her research on the loss of autonomy due to age-related macular degeneration.

Anne Thier, research assistant at the MHB Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology, says she employed qualitative methods, which is rare in her field of research. In 2017 she started to explore the personal experience of illness in individuals living with age-related macular degeneration and suffering from the resulting severe impairments of their quality of life on a daily basis. She is highly pleased with the award and hopes it will make qualitative research more visible in the wider context of ophthalmology and draw more social attention to the many persons affected by the disease.

Prof. Oliver Zeitz chairs the scientific board of the foundation. He points to Thier’s impressive illustration of how affected patients experience the disease, what they feel, and what they expect from medical interventions: “She has identified systematic aspects of anxiety and uneasiness that remain unaddressed in the regular treatment process. Her analyses provide specific suggestions for new therapy approaches to take better account of patients’ needs.”

Diseases of the macula (centre of the retina) are widespread and affect hundreds of thousands, restricting their visual abilities. Age-related macular degeneration in advanced stages may result in severely impaired vision to the point of blindness. Macular diseases have grave consequences for the planning and quality of personal life.

According to Prof. Zeitz, these diseases are common but not yet anchored in the public awareness, so that those affected are often left alone in coping with their problems and meet with little or no understanding in their social environment.

This is what Prof. Gisbert Richard, chairman of the foundation’s board, aims to change: “Our research award, bestowed for the third time in 2022, is intended as a contribution to generating the attention and support which these patients need.”

Contact Deutsche Maculastiftung:
Prof. Dr. Gisbert Richard, Prof. Dr. Oliver Zeitz

Contact MHB:
Dipl.-Ing. Anne Thier