To this question many people ask, “What is my macula?” with no idea of which part of the body is affected by it. The macula is in the very centre of the retina at the back of the eye. A healthy macula lets you read, recognise faces, drive, see colours clearly and handle any activity that requires fine vision.
Macular degeneration is an eye disease which can quickly lead to vision loss if left untreated.
One in seven New Zealanders over the age of 50 will contract this eye disease.
A recent Galaxy poll showed that 41% of New Zealanders over the age of 50 do not even know what macular degeneration is, yet it is nearly as prevalent as heart disease and half as prevalent as diabetes*.
Far too many people are going blind because they don’t know that a simple test can identify early changes and save their sight. Detecting macular degeneration can be as simple as taking the Amsler Grid test regularly. It can be done in the comfort of your home or wherever you see a grid pattern. If the lines in the grid appear distorted or bent, then contact an optometrist without delay.
The disease can progress very quickly — within weeks or months for the most severe form — causing rapid vision loss. Although the treatments are not a cure, they stabilise vision and help prevent further sight loss.
An eye test with an optometrist is recommended every two years for this age group. Early detection saves sight.
For further information contact Phillippa Pitcher, General Manager, Macular Degeneration NZ 09 307 2103.