Macular Degeneration Awareness Week 

Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, are at risk of macular degeneration, Australia’s leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss.

“All the baby boomers are now aged over 50 and that means they’re at risk of macular degeneration. For this reason it is critical to have an eye test and macula check and adopt eye health diet and lifestyle practices,” said Ita Buttrose, Patron of Macular Disease Foundation Australia.

“Baby boomers have changed the definition of ageing. More than any generation before, they’re working longer, travelling widely and have big plans for their future. They are the first generation who can expect to live a decade or two of relatively healthy life after retirement.

“That’s why it is important that part of their plan for the future includes preventative steps to save their sight from macular degeneration,” said Ita. “Follow the Foundation’s eye health diet and lifestyle recommendations such as eating dark green leafy vegetables especially spinach, fresh fruit and fish. Exercise regularly and don’t smoke. These practices are not only good for your eyes, they’re also good for your bones, heart and brain.

“I saw the impact vision loss had on my father’s life. He had macular degeneration and now my uncle, his youngest brother, does too. Fortunately he is receiving effective sight saving treatment because his macular degeneration was detected early and he received timely treatment. At 92, he is still able to drive.

“A direct family history of macular degeneration means a 50 per cent chance of developing the disease. So if, like me, you have a direct family member with the disease be vigilant with your eye health,” said Ita.

Health Minister Sussan Ley is joining Ita in support of Macular Degeneration Awareness Week. “As a baby boomer myself, this is a timely reminder of the importance of an eye test and macula check. With a third of all Australians aged over 50 many are now in the higher risk category, with latest estimates indicating 1.2 million Australians already have some evidence of the disease,” said Minister Ley.

Macular Disease Foundation Australia Chief Executive Officer Julie Heraghty explained, “A person can have the very early signs of macular degeneration without even knowing. That’s why an eye test is essential.

 

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