Macular Disease is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in Australia1. The most common forms include age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR)1. Although macula disease may not make itself apparent until later in life, adopting preventative measures early may help lead to better outcomes2.
This Macula Month, Queensland Country Health Fund optical partner OPSM shares with us their top tips for Macular disease care and prevention.
Have regular eye tests
Visit an optometrist at least once every two years, or as advised by your eyecare professional.
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.
Healthy Diet for Healthy Eyes
Research suggests having a healthy well-balanced diet can help reduce your risk of developing macular disease2. Dark green leafy vegetables, handful of nuts, eating fish two to three times a week and eating low glycemic index carbohydrates can all help2. Eating foods high in zeaxanthin and lutein nutrients have been suggested to help reduce the risks of developing Macular degeneration2.
Smoking can damage the cells in your retina and increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration3.
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.
Be Self Aware
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 centre of your vision.
- Difficulty distinguishing faces.
As AMD is more prevalent in those over 50, some people confuse symptoms of the disease as a normal sign of ageing. That is why we recommend regular eye exams. Of course, come in for an immediate eye exam if you have any visual symptoms.
- Are you at risk of macular disease. Good Vision For Life (2018).
- Prevention of the onset of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. J. Clin. Med 10(15) (2021)
- Risk factors for AMD. Macular Disease Foundation Australia.
- About Macular Disease. Macular Disease Foundation Australia.