Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, 24th to 30th May, 2015.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in Australia. West Ryde optometrist, Tom Geroulas advises that if you are over 50, have an eye test and get your macula checked.

One in every seven Australians over the age of 50 are affected by MD and the risk increases with age. People with a family history of MD have a 50% chance of developing the disease.

Macular degeneration damages your central vision, which affects your ability to read, drive, recognise faces and see colours clearly. Given that early detection is critical to saving sight, not knowing the symptoms could risk blindness.

There are some keys ways we can fight this disease, the first step of course is to have an eye test and macula check. Secondly, do not ignore any changes in vision. Early detection can literally save your sight. Don’t delay it, see your optometrist immediately if you notice any sudden changes in your vision.

People need to be familiar with the symptoms of macular degeneration, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Difficulty with reading or any other activity with fine vision.
  • Visual Distortion, where straight lines appear wavy or bent.
  • Distinguishing faces becomes a problem.
  • Dull patches or empty spaces appearing anywhere in the centre of your vision.

People with MD often dismiss such symptoms, mistakenly thinking that they are just experiencing eye strain or feeling tired.

Macular Degeneration Foundation CEO, Julie Heraghty agrees, “Early detection is critical to saving sight. If you experience any sudden change in vision you should see an optometrist urgently. People also need to know the importance of diet and lifestyle in reducing the risk and progression of macular degeneration.”

Regular eye tests are critical for good eye health and are an opportunity for advice about risk reduction. Making positive diet and lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of MD or slow down the progression of the disease, and include the following:

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking is the number one preventable risk factor.
  • Eat dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit daily.
  • Eat fish two times a week, as well as raw nuts
  • Aside from a healthy well-balanced diet, control your weight and exercise regularly.
  • Limit your intake of fats and oils.
  • In consultation with your doctor, take a suitable zinc and antioxidant supplement.
  • Protect your eyes from sunlight exposure, especially advisable for young people.

There is no cure for MD, but some treatments can help control or minimize further damage, if diagnosed early. If you have further questions, please contact us on phone 9804 6896.

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