The Macular Degeneration Foundation urges all Australians, especially those with a family history of the disease to know the risks and have their eyes checked in the wake of the news that macular degeneration, Australia's leading cause of blindness and vision loss, has claimed the sight of Oscar winning actress Dame Judi Dench.
Reports indicate that Dame Judi Dench had a number of the key risk factors, including her age and the fact her mother had macular degeneration, which indicates a family history of the disease. In Judi's words, "I've got what my ma had."
People with a direct family history have a 50% chance of developing the disease, with one in seven Australians over the age of 50 affected by macular degeneration and the incidence increases with age.
Julie Heraghty, CEO of the Macular Degeneration Foundation says, "Judi's mother had macular degeneration, which means Judi had a 50% chance of developing the disease.
"Reports say that Dame Judi has both types of macular degeneration – dry in one eye and wet in the other. “Wet MD is usually characterised by a rapid and severe loss of central vision while dry MD is a slower form of the disease, causing gradual loss of vision. It's important to know the symptoms of macular degeneration and to have your macula checked," says Heraghty.
The Macular Degeneration Foundation applauds Dame Judi Dench for bringing attention to this serious disease.
"We thank Dame Judi Dench for her selflessness in sharing her diagnosis with the world. This helps highlight the importance of early detection and risk reduction and gives hope that all Australians can see a future," says Heraghty.
20 February 2012