One of New Zealand’s Leading Causes of Blindness

Macular Degeneration (MD) is one of New Zealand’s leading causes of blindness and severe vision loss. One in seven people over the age of 50 are affected and the incidence increases with age.

This condition affects the central part of the retina, called the macula. This is the light sensitive tissue that is essential for your ability to read, recognise faces, drive, and see colours clearly (you are reading this by using your macula).

Recent research has shown that 47% of New Zealand adults who are 50 years of age or older, and who are most at risk have not heard of Macular Degeneration. We are therefore urging people to have their eyes examined regularly and to be aware of the symptoms of MD.

Symptoms include:

  • Dark patches or empty spaces in your vision
  • Difficulty in reading or doing activities that require fine vision
  • Distortions of straight lines
  • Difficulty distinguishing anything in your central vision

Regular eye examinations are the key to better prospects for treatment. OCT scans are now included in comprehensive eye examinations (age 50 and over) and post-cataract eye examinations. This is a 3D scan of your eye structures in 10 minutes, completely painless and non-invasive! It’s the gold standard for early detection of eye diseases such as macular degenerationglaucoma and diabetic eye disease.

You can also reduce the risk of developing MD by:

  • Not smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a well-balanced diet with leafy dark green vegetables, fish and nuts
  • Protecting your eyes from UV damage

We can give you an “Amsler Grid”, a simple test you can do at home to observe any subtle changes in your central vision. If you notice changes on an Amsler grid, you need to see an optometrist urgently, don’t wait until the next eye exam! Macular Degeneration New Zealand (MDNZ) point out that early detection is vital in saving sight.

Book an appointment now!


Clare Coventry

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