Eye prob­lem you may not be aware of

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion is one of New Zealand’s lead­ing causes of blind­ness and can lead to se­vere loss of vi­sion af­fect­ing as many as one in seven New Zealan­ders over the age of 50 years.

Mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion af­fects your cen­tral vi­sion.

Those over the age of 50, or with a fam­ily his­tory of the con­di­tion, are more at risk.

Those who smoke are three times more likely to be at risk.

Visique Mata­mata op­tometrist, Mike Far­rell said un­for­tu­nately there is cur­rently no cure for mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, but treat­ment op­tions and early de­tec­tion through eye ex­am­i­na­tions is cru­cial if sight is to be pre­served.

‘‘In the early stages, mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion may not even be no­ticed, so early de­tec­tion through reg­u­lar eye ex­am­i­na­tions is the best pro­tec­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘Peo­ple over the age of 50 should have their eyes ex­am­ined at least ev­ery two years, in­clud­ing a mac­ula check.

‘‘The mac­ula is a small but vi­tal area of the retina at the back of your eye, and is es­sen­tial to be­ing able to see.’’

De­spite the 210,400 peo­ple be­ing suf­fer­ers in New Zealand, the con­di­tion re­mains rel­a­tively un­known, it is im­por­tant to ed­u­cate peo­ple about the con­di­tion to en­sure peo­ple can take the rel­e­vant steps to save their eye­sight.

Peo­ple must re­alise that fail­ing eye­sight is not just a part of get­ting older and it could be the onset of the chronic eye con­di­tion mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, which doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily cause ‘‘to­tal blind­ness’’ as some pe­riph­eral vi­sion is main­tained, said Mike Far­rell.

To raise aware­ness of this con­di­tion, Visique Mata­mata Op­tometrists is pro­vid­ing free am­sler grids to res­i­dents which help to mon­i­tor vi­sion.

If the lines on this grid look wavy, blurred or dis­torted, it in­di­cates that some­thing is wrong and you should visit an op­tometrist im­me­di­ately.

Key facts:

Mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion symp­toms in­clude: dif­fi­culty with read­ing, or any other ac­tiv­ity that re­quires fine vi­sion, dis­tor­tion; where straight lines ap­pear wavy or bent and dif­fi­culty dis­tin­guish­ing faces and dark patches or empty spa­ces ap­pear in the cen­tre of your vi­sion.

A healthy diet and life­style can slow down pro­gres­sion of mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.

Peo­ple should ex­er­cise reg­u­larly and eat a well-bal­anced diet in­clud­ing low GI car­bo­hy­drates, fish and nuts, etc.

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