Macular Degeneration Awareness Week
26 May to 1 June 2013

Australian of the Year says it's personal -
Let's Stop Australians going blind!

Championing Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, Ita Buttrose Australian of the Year 2013,and Patron of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia, is leading the fight against macular degeneration.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in Australia. One in seven Australians over the age of 50 (1 million people) show some evidence of macular degeneration and this will rise 70%, to 1.7 million, by 2030 in the absence of prevention and treatment measures.

Logan Central Optometrist Stuart Macfarlane is reminding people over 50 years to have their eyes tested and macula checked in the lead up to Macular Degeneration Awareness Week.

For Ita Buttrose it's personal, "I was terribly upset when my late father told me he had macular degeneration. As a journalist and author, dad always started the day reading a couple of newspapers, suddenly this was no longer possible. I couldn't imagine not being able to read again."

"Macular degeneration is a devastating disease," said Ita.

Optometrist Stuart Macfarlane says, "There are some key ways we can fight this disease and the first step is to have an eye test and macula check. Secondly, do not ignore any changes in vision. Early detection can literally save your sight. Contact your optometrist immediately if you have any sudden changes in your vision."

CEO of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia, Julie Heraghty said, "Many people would be surprised to know the importance of diet and lifestyle in reducing the risk and progression of maculardegeneration. In fact, smoking causes blindness, so don't smoke. Eat dark green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, fish and take appropriate supplements if required."

Australians should also be aware of the symptoms of macular degeneration which can include one or more of the following:

  • Difficulty with reading or any other activity with fine vision
  • Distortion where straight lines appear wavy or bent
  • Distinguishing faces becomes a problem
  • Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the centre of your vision
"Every Australian over 50 should have an Amsler grid in their home to test for symptoms of macular degeneration. The grid should never replace an eye test and any sudden changes in vision noticed while using an Amsler grid should be reported immediately to your eye care professional," said Heraghty.

"Macular Degeneration Awareness Week is a great reminder to make an appointment to visit your optometrist today and to contact the Macular Disease Foundation Australia on 1800 111 709 or visit for a free information kit and Amsler grid," said Ms Buttrose.

About the Macular Disease Foundation Australia

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia (formerly the Macular Degeneration Foundation) is the national charity committed to reducing the incidence and impact of macular disease in Australia.

In January 2013 the Macular Degeneration Foundation proudly changed its name to the Macular Disease Foundation Australia to champion all macular diseases primarily macular degeneration, along with diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion and macular dystrophies.

For further information on macular degeneration, phone the free call number 1800 111 709 or visit

About Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in Australia. All Australians over the age of 50 years should have an eye test and make sure their macula is checked. The macula is the central part of the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The macula processes all central visual images and is responsible for the ability to drive, see colours clearly, read and recognise faces. Macular degeneration causes damage to the macula, resulting in central vision loss.

About Optometrists Association Australia

Optometrists Association Australia is the peak professional association for Australian optometrists. Visit for further information.

Posted 30 April 2013


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Calvin Klein

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