May is Macula Month (1–31 May 2019)

If you’re over 50 you are at higher risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). If you have a direct family member (parent or sibling) who has been diagnosed with AMD, you have a 50% increased risk of diagnosis. Smokers are at three to four times higher risk of AMD than non-smokers. Everyone with diabetes is at risk of vision loss through diabetic eye disease.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is an eye disease associated with ageing that gradually destroys central vision. Central vision occurs at the macula on the retina, at the back of the eye. Because it is the central part of vision, it is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common everyday tasks such as reading and driving.

AMD is present in 15% of people between the ages of 70-75 and is now the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people fail to notice the gradual deterioration of their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a permanent loss of central vision.

With regular eye examinations and by adopting the healthy habits below you can help minimise your risk of vision loss from macular disease, whether you have been diagnosed with the disease or not.

How many of these ‘healthy habits’ can you tick off?

□ I don’t smoke

□ I eat a healthy, well-balanced diet

□ I eat dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit daily

□ I eat fish two to three times a week

□ I choose low glycemic index (low GI) carbohydrates instead of high GI

□ I eat a handful of nuts a week

□ I limit the intake of fats and oils

□ I keep a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly

□ I have a regular comprehensive eye test and macula check

If you ticked all nine healthy habits – well done! If you didn’t tick all the boxes now is the time to make changes to reduce your risk or delay progression of macular disease. You can do this by booking in for a comprehensive eye test and macula check with Andrew Greer, your local Eyecare Plus optometrist in Tamworth.

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