Bowls Australia and the Macular Disease Foundation Australia have joined forces to knock Australia’s leading cause of legal blindness out of play this World Sight Day, 10 October 2013.
The Australian-first campaign, ‘Keep your eye on the ball,’ is proudly supported by Bayer Australia and will roll out at two of the country’s leading Bowling Clubs – Yarraville Footscray Bowling Club and Glen Eira McKinnon Bowls Club.
The campaign is focused on the importance of early detection and intervention for age- related macular degeneration (AMD), which causes progressive (and sometimes rapid) central vision loss and affects one in seven Australians over 50. Bowling greens at the Yarraville Footscray and Glen Eira McKinnon Bowling Clubs will receive a creative and captivating makeover as part of the campaign.
The eye-catching transformation which will include an important eye health message is not just for show. Its aim is to send the strong message to older Australians to have an eye test and macula check and to raise awareness of the importance of early detection especially for wet AMD. This is an aggressive form of the disease that can advance rapidly and, without treatment, may lead to major central vision loss.
In support of the campaign, Bowls Australia CEO, Neil Dalrymple said: “Bowls Australia is proud to partner with the Macular Disease Foundation Australia and Bayer for this World Sight Day to remind Australians over 50 years old not to take their eyesight for granted.
"By getting behind this campaign and dedicating two of our biggest bowling clubs to raise awareness of the importance of early detection for better eye health, we hope to ensure older Australians can keep their eye on the ball for many years to come.”
The patterned greens will form part of the ‘Keep your eye on the ball’ awareness campaign activities for World Sight Day; Yarraville Footscray and Glen Eira McKinnon Bowling Clubs have laid the mat for local ophthalmologists and optometrists to be onsite for members and visitors to have free eye health checks.
Macular Disease Foundation Australia Chief Executive Officer, Julie Heraghty stated “Every day our mission is to raise awareness of macular degeneration because you can have the very early signs without even knowing. An eye test and macula check are essential, along with knowing the symptoms and the regular use at home of the Amsler grid to test for any sudden changes in vision.
"Never put any changes in your vision down to just getting older and if there are any sudden changes, contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately."
Highlighting the relevance of eye health to all Australians, medical retinal specialist Dr Kira Michalova said "one million Australians show some evidence of AMD, and the number is expected to increase to 1.7 million in the next 20 years. It is vital that those at risk - people over 50, those with a direct family history of AMD or those who have smoked or still smoke - are aware of the disease and know that, if detected early, sight can often be saved.”
To ensure Australians stay on the ball with their eye health, Bowls Australia, the MacularDisease Foundation Australia and Bayer have provided the following checklist:
Have your eyes tested and macula checked
See your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately if there are any sudden changes in your vision
Order a free macular degeneration information kit including and Amsler grid from the Macular Disease Foundation Australia 1800 111 709
As well as watching some great bowling, bowlers were invited to have a free eye test and macula check from 10.00am to12.30pm at The Yarraville-Footscray Bowls Club in Yarraville and the Glen Eira Bowls Club in Ormond, Victoria.