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Macular
Degeneration

Macular Disease is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in Australia. The most common forms include age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR). Although macular disease may not make itself apparent until later in life, adopting preventative measures early may help lead to better outcomes1.

Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is Australia’s leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness but it can be easy to confuse symptoms as a normal sign of ageing. This form of vision loss is caused by a build-up of metabolic waste products around the central retina and is increasingly common with age. It’s a chronic and largely unpreventable disease affecting more than 1 million Australians over 50, with this number set to increase to close to 2 million in 20302.

Have regular eye tests

Visit an optometrist at least once every two years, or as advised by your eyecare professional.

OPSM Optometrist, Elizabeth Kodari says "regular eye tests are essential in detecting problems early. The early detection of any form of macular disease has a higher chance of slowing disease progression and maintaining vision.”

OPSM have some of latest scanning technology, including Ultra-Wide Digital Retinal Scans which aids in the detection and monitoring of AMD, diabetic eye disease and other eye conditions.

Eye Test

Know your Family History

It is important to let you optometrist know if you have a family history of macular degeneration. Having a first degree relative such as a parent or sibling can increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration by 50%3.

Signs and symptoms

Usually, AMD does not display any symptoms in its early stages. In later stages, the loss of vision leads to increased difficulty in close-vision activities such as reading, particularly in low light. Monitor for changes in your vision between your visits to the optometrist. Macular degeneration symptoms to look out for include4:

  • Difficulty with reading or activities that requires fine vision
  • Distortion in the form of straight lines appearing wavy or bent
  • Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the center of your vision
  • Difficulty distinguishing faces

If you’re seeing any of these symptoms, we’d recommend booking an eye test with your nearest OPSM store. Our optometrists can assist in diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for your situation.

Prevention and treatment

There is no cure for macular disease, however modifying diet and lifestyle and use of appropriate supplements may slow progression. Some types of AMD can be treated through laser surgery and injections, which is done to preserve sight.

Healthy Diet for Healthy Eyes

Research suggests having a healthy well-balanced diet can help reduce your risk of developing macular disease5. A diet to reduce the risks of developing macular degeneration2 includes:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Handful of nuts
  • Eating fish two to three times a week
  • Eating low glycemic index carbohydrates
  • Eating foods high in zeaxanthin and lutein nutrients

Don’t smoke

Smoking can damage the cells in your retina and increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration6.

Having regular eye examinations are crucial to detect early signs of macular disease and can help to manage the onset of symptoms. Your optometrist is the best place to start for advice on any treatment, which can be referred to specialists for the best care possible. To book an eye test, contact your closest OPSM or book online now.

  1. Eyes on the future – ‘A clear outlook on age-related macular degeneration’ Report by Deloitte Access economics & Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2011. 2014 projections are a linear projection between 20910 and 2015 estimates.
  2. Eyes on the future – ‘A clear outlook on age-related macular degeneration’ Report by Deloitte Access economics & Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2011. 2014 projections are a linear projection between 20910 and 2015 estimates.
  3. Fred Hollows Foundation http://www.hollows.org.au/eye-health
  4. Eyes on the future – ‘A clear outlook on age-related macular degeneration’ Report by Deloitte Access economics & Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2011. 2014 projections are a linear projection between 20910 and 2015 estimates.
  5. Eyes on the future – ‘A clear outlook on age-related macular degeneration’ Report by Deloitte Access economics & Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2011. 2014 projections are a linear projection between 20910 and 2015 estimates.
  6. Fred Hollows Foundation http://www.hollows.org.au/eye-health