Macular disease is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. Causes include age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease, along with other less common diseases of the macula. The macula is the area at the very centre of the retina, which is the area in the eye responsible for the ability to read, recognise faces, drive a car, see colours clearly and any other activity that requires fine vision. Macular degeneration causes progressive loss of central vision, leaving only the peripheral or side vision intact.
Many people in our community are at risk of developing macular disease but just don’t know it. Those over 50 are at higher risk of age-related macular degeneration, and everyone with diabetes is at risk of developing vision loss from retinopathy. No matter what your age, if you have sudden changes in your vision you need to have your eyes tested immediately
It’s essential to have a regular eye test including a macula check, as you can have the early stages of the disease without knowing. If you’re at risk, Macula Month is the perfect time to have your eyes tested by an optometrist.
The early detection of any form of macular degeneration is crucial to saving sight. Difficulty with vision should never be dismissed as just a part of getting older. In its early stages macular degeneration may not result in noticeable visual symptoms but it can be detected with an eye test.
The earlier that macular degeneration is detected, the sooner that steps can be undertaken to help slow its progression and save sight through treatment and/or lifestyle modifications.