Educating people about caring for their macular health this May

The month of May marks the beginning of macula month and, in support, OPSM Collie is educating the Collie community about the eye disease that can lead to loss of vision or blindness.

Macular disease is Australia's leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness. Although the condition may not make itself apparent until later in life, preventative measures can ensure a better outcome.

OPSM Collie store manager Leanne Waywood said macular disease was a chronic condition that could be diagnosed through regular eye tests that examined the retina.

"Advanced technology, such as the Ultra Wide Digital Retinal Scan, can help detect the disease during a routine eye test," she said.

"Although the disease is most prevalent in those over 50, those with a parent or sibling with the disease, and if you have diabetes.

"If you're a smoker, the risk is 3-4 times higher."

To help prevent macular disease it's recommended you:

  • Visit an optometrist at least once every two years, or as advised by your eye health professional
  • Don't smoke - it damages the cells in your retina and more than doubles the risk of age-related macular disease
  • Protect your retina from the impact of harmful UV rays by wearing good quality sunglasses
  • Eat well - research suggests eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help reduce the risk of macular disease. Dark green leafy vegetables, a handful of nuts each week, eating fish two to three times a week and eating low glycemic index carbohydrates can all help. Also eating foods high in zeaxanthin and lutein nutrients have been found to slow the condition
  • Be self-aware - have you noticed a change in your vision? Between visits to your eye health professional, those over 50 should monitor for changes in vision by using an Amsler grid - a simple tool which will test for symptoms of macular disease. To order a free Amsler grid, please call the Macular Disease Foundation Australia on 1800 111 709 or visit www.mdfoundation.com.au