More than 14,000 South Coast residents are affected by macular degeneration, and that’s expected to increase by nearly 50 per cent in the next 15 years.
During Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, Dapto optometrist Malinda Halley is urging baby boomers to make an appointment to get their macula checked.
‘’The macula is the centre of the retina, the part of the eye that does all the detailed, sharp vision,’’ Ms Halley said.
‘’So with macular degeneration, you lose the most important part of your vision.
‘’It’s an ageing condition so if you’re over 50 it’s vital to have an eye test and have your macula checked.’’
The disease, which can be hereditary, is Australia’s leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss. Ms Halley said the earlier it was detected, the more vision a person was likely to retain.
‘’There are two types of macular degeneration – the dry form is where the vision slowly deteriorates and there’s no particular treatment,’’ she said.
‘’The wet form is where there’s a split in the water proofing near the macula and this causes blindness. However there’s a new treatment for this form.’’
As well as eye checks, a healthy lifestyle and diet were good prevention tools. ‘’And if you start noticing changes in vision, don’t just put it down to ageing,’’ Ms Halley said.