Main cause of blind­ness

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Only 67 per cent of Ki­wis over the age of 50 have heard of New Zealand’s leading cause of blind­ness.

But mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion is three times as preva­lent as de­men­tia and can be spotted with a sim­ple test.

The dis­ease can re­sult in a grad­ual loss of cen­tral vi­sion or a sud­den loss of vi­sion caused by ab­nor­mal blood ves­sels grow­ing into the retina.

Im­me­di­ate med­i­cal treat­ment is es­sen­tial if symp­toms oc­cur.

Phillippa Pitcher of Mac­u­lar De­gen­er­a­tion New Zealand says early de­tec­tion is vi­tal. Pro­gres­sion of the con­di­tion can be slowed by mak­ing life­style changes, re­duc­ing smok­ing, im­prov­ing nu­tri­tion and tak­ing eye health sup­ple­ments, she says.

Mac­u­lar De­gen­er­a­tion Aware­ness Week ended on Sun­day.

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