Macular Degeneration is an eye disease affecting one in seven Australians over the age of 50. It results in the progressive, painless loss of central vision which ultimately affects one’s ability to see fine detail, drive, read and recognise faces.
If you are over 50 - the at risk group for Macular Degeneration, it is recommended you take the time to have an eyes examination and have your macula checked for early detection of the disease. Further, research shows there is a 50% increase in risk of developing Macular Degeneration when a family history of the disease is present. Another risk factor is smoking – smokers are 3 times more likely to develop macular degeneration.
Early detection is critical to saving sight; the lack of symptom recognition may risk blindness. Macular degeneration causes loss of central vision which is vital to the ability to read, drive, recognise faces and see colours clearly. Everyone over 50 years should have their eyes examined.
If you experience any sudden change in vision you should visit your optometrist immediately and never dismiss vision difficulties as just needing glasses, experiencing eye strain or getting older.
Macular Degeneration symptoms may include one or more of the following:
Difficulty with reading or any other activity with fine vision.
Distortion where straight lines appear wavy or bent.
Distinguishing faces becomes a problem.
Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the centre of your vision.
Regular eye examinations which include macula checks also provide the opportunity to discuss the role and importance of nutrition and lifestyle, which are critical for good eye health and risk reduction. There are simple steps everyone can take to reduce their risk of developing Macular Degeneration and we want people to start by talking to their family about risk reduction measures. This includes having an eye test, adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating foods that are good for eye health including fish, foods with low GI and dark green leafy vegetables.
A simple but very useful tool to monitor for macular degeneration is an Amsler Grid which is free from your optometrist or the Macular Degeneration Foundation on 1800 111 709.
Phone: (02) 6643 2020
Address: 86 Prince Street, Grafton
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