Macular Degeneration Awareness Week 2013
Sunday 26 May to Saturday 1 June
“The day I was honoured with Australian of the Year, I made a public commitment to raise awareness of issues relating to older Australians, including macular degeneration.”
For Ita it’s personal, “I was terribly upset when my late father told me he had macular degeneration. As a journalist and author, dad always started the day reading a couple of newspapers, suddenly this was no longer possible. I couldn’t imagine not being able to read again. Macular degeneration is a devastating disease,” said Ita.
The Macular Disease Foundation Australia is reminding people over 50 years to have their eyes tested and macula checked in the lead up to Macular Degeneration Awareness Week.
CEO of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia, Julie Heraghty said, “There are some key ways we can fight this disease and the first step is to have an eye test and macula check. Secondly, do not ignore any changes in vision. Early detection can literally save your sight. Contact your optometrist or eye specialist immediately if you have any sudden changes in your vision.”
“Many people would be surprised to know the importance of diet and lifestyle in reducing the risk and progression of macular degeneration. In fact, smoking causes blindness, so don’t smoke. Eat dark green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, fish and take appropriate supplements if required” said Heraghty.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in Australia. One in seven Australians over the age of 50 (1 million people) show some evidence of macular degeneration and this will rise 70%, to 1.7 million, by 2030 in the absence of prevention and treatment measures.
Ita in her role as Patron
Know the symptoms
Know the symptoms of macular degeneration, which can 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
Test for symptoms
Every Australian over 50 should have an Amsler grid in their home to test for symptoms of macular degeneration. The grid should never replace an eye test and any sudden changes in vision noticed while using an Amsler grid should be reported immediately to your eye care professional.
Get a free information kit
Contact the Macular Disease Foundation Australia on 1800 111 709 for a free information kit and Amsler grid.