Making your voices heard
Since the introduction of sight-saving eye injections for 15 years ago, Australia has become one of the best places in the world for patients with macular disease.
Where once a diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration meant you would go blind – sometimes quite rapidly – treatment became available for the most aggressive form of the disease, wet (neovascular) AMD.
But, 15 years on, while the sight of thousands of Australians has been saved, for too many Australians, the barriers to access this treatment are too great.
As Australia prepares to vote, we wanted to show our politicians 47 reasons why affordable, accessible sight-saving eye treatment should be a priority for the 47th Parliament.
Instead, we found 47,000 reasons. That’s the number of people predicted to suffer vision loss, if a proposed 69 per cent cut to the Medicare rebates for eye injections – suggested by the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce – had gone ahead.
Thankfully, on the eve of Macula Month 2022 and in the midst of the Federal Election campaign, both the Liberal and Labor parties made commitments to reject the rebate cut. This is welcome news for the macular disease community.
Our Patron, Ita Buttrose AC OBE, has been an outspoken advocate for a rejection of the proposed rebate cut. Her nationally televised speech to the National Press Club in May 2021 warned that a 69 per cent cut in the Medicare rebate would have devastating impact.
She has thanked the Government and Opposition for listening to the needs of the macular disease community.
Other barriers to treatment
With this proposal now off the table, we look forward to working with the next Government to ensure all Australians have access to sight-saving treatment.
Government data shows that 25 per cent of patients receiving eye injections drop out of treatment after the first 12 months, leading to irreversible vision loss or blindness.
We found that even at the current rebate almost a third of people receiving intravitreal injections (IVI) for AMD have considered delaying or stopping treatment due to cost. Five per cent actually did so.
And we confirmed that distance and travel difficulties provided even more hurdles to treatment, with 15 per cent of patients travelling more than an hour to their appointments.
- 11 per cent considered delaying or stopping treatment due to travel distance
- 13 per cent considered delaying or stopping treatment due to the lack of community transport options, and
- 16 per cent considered delaying or stopping treatment because their carers were unable to provide transport.
Learn more about the issues
We reveal the facts and statistics that show just why this campaign is so important.
What’s your story?
We’d love to hear your story. Do you face barriers to treatment? We’d like to hear about your journey with macular disease.
Each one of these people have their own story to tell
Click on the caption to learn more about that person’s story of living with AMD.
Monitor for any changes in your vision at home with our free Amsler grid pack. If you’ve been diagnosed with AMD, you should be monitoring your vision daily.
Eye injection fact sheet
This fact sheet looks at when eye injections – also called intravitreal injections or IVI – are needed, how often they are needed, and the risks and side effects.
Receiving treatment for AMD: Patient resources kit
This resource kit contains more information specifically for people receiving treatment for age-related macular degeneration.
The 47,000 Reasons campaign is an initiative of Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA), and a part the 2022 Macula Month awareness program. Macula Month is proudly supported by Bayer Australia.