Every year, Macular Degeneration foundations, ophthalmologists, and eye institutes across the globe come together to dedicate an entire week – to raising awareness about age-related macular degeneration (ARMD, or AMD), the leading cause of blindness in Australia.
For those who don’t know, macular degeneration refers to a group of degenerative diseases of the retina. The symptoms involve a progressive and painless loss of central vision, and this slowly diminishes the affected person’s ability to see fine detail, read small print, drive, and even recognise faces.
An easy test using an Amsler Grid can help you self test on a regular basis. You can obtain an Amsler Grid simply by calling Vision Eye Institute – or, download a copy here).
Macular Degeneration Awareness Week hopes to bring to the attention to the fact that there are currently no hard and fast cures. Fortunately though, there are treatment options that help to slow down its progression, depending on whether you have wet or dry macular degeneration. These treatment options also factor in which stage of the disease you are currently in – so the earlier the detection of macular degeneration, the more vision you are likely to regain.
This year’s theme is ‘keep your family in the picture’, which highlights the hereditary (genetic) nature of the disease. Research shows that if one of your family members has macular degeneration, there is a 50% chance of you developing the disease.
Here are some important facts to know about macular degeneration:
So, macular degeneration is a very serious condition, and should never be brushed off as anything less. If you are concerned that you or a family member may have macular degeneration, consider taking the following steps:
Even if you’re not a likely sufferer of macular degeneration, it’s very beneficial if you can spread the word and make sure that more people are aware of age related macular degeneration. Take to your friends, family members because there’s a chance that you might help save someone’s sight by doing so.
Age related macular degeneration continues to be Australia’s leading cause of blindness and the first step to reducing the problem is communication – the key reason for the existence of Macular Degeneration Week.