People significantly underestimate the role of family history in developing macular degeneration – the leading cause of blindness and vision loss, an East Maitland optometrist warned.
“All those at risk, which are those over 50 years or with a family history of macular degeneration, should have their eyes tested and macular checked,” local optometrist Jason Tang said.
“We also want Australians to know macular degeneration is not a normal part of ageing.
“Never ignore any changes in vision and always seek help immediately as early detection is critical to saving sight.”
A national survey commissioned by the Macular Degeneration Foundation found nearly three in four Australians (71 per cent) did not correctly identify the role that family history plays in developing the disease.
“The results of the research are of great concern as about one in seven Australians over the age of 50 have some evidence of macular degeneration, a chronic disease with a prevalence four times that of dementia and more than half that of diabetes,” foundation CEO Julie Heraghty said.
“We want all Australians and their families to see a future and not have precious memories robbed by this disease.
“We are calling on all Australians to make their family’s macular health a priority by having their eyes tested and macular checked, especially those who are most at risk, that is,
people over the age of 50 and those with a family history of the disease.”
q Today marks the start of Macular Degeneration Awareness Week.