Man­ag­ing MD eas­ier

Hastings Leader - - News - BY BRENDA VOW­DEN brenda.vow­[email protected]

As the global pop­u­la­tion ages, mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion (MD) is be­com­ing an im­por­tant pub­lic health is­sue.

Gone are the days when pa­tients were told “there is noth­ing more we can of­fer you” with al­most cer­tainty that se­vere vi­sion loss would re­sult.

But early de­tec­tion and prompt treat­ment is vi­tal.

Mac­u­lar De­gen­er­a­tion NZ (MDNZ) is a char­i­ta­ble trust aim­ing to re­duce the in­ci­dence and im­pact of MD in New Zealand, in­crease aware­ness and pro­mote early de­tec­tion to the 1.5 mil­lion at-risk New Zealan­ders.

On Sun­day, Novem­ber 11, MDNZ will host a free sem­i­nar in Napier where oph­thal­mol­o­gist Dr John Beau­mont will share in­for­ma­tion on the lat­est treat­ments and man­age­ment of this chronic eye dis­ease.

In­for­ma­tion packs will be avail­able on the day.

MD is the lead­ing cause of blind­ness in New Zealand and af­fects the cen­tral vi­sion im­pact­ing on the abil­ity to drive, read, watch tele­vi­sion, un­der­take many hob­bies and recog­nise faces. Loss of vi­sion af­fects life­style and in­de­pen­dent age­ing as­so­ci­ated with the risks of falls and frac­tur­ing hips, de­vel­op­ing de­pres­sion, in­abil­ity to ac­cess health ser­vices and ear­lier ad­mis­sion to nurs­ing homes.

Napier res­i­dent Daniel Paw­son knows first hand the ef­fect MD can have — he also knows how the lat­est treat­ment can lessen that im­pact.

Daniel has had more than 15 Avastin in­jec­tions and his eye­sight is hold­ing very well, says MDNZ gen­eral man­ager Phillippa Pitcher.

“He is pas­sion­ate about let­ting peo­ple know that di­ag­no­sis of mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion does not mean “go­ing blind” and early de­tec­tion is key to sav­ing sight.”

Daniel, 87, says he hadn’t heard of MD be­fore be­ing di­ag­nosed around seven years ago.

He is grate­ful MD is only in one eye and that he has health in­sur­ance which cov­ered the cost of most of his treat­ment.

He says the symp­toms were re­vealed as dis­tor­tion of sight by the right eye.

“The prob­lem did not ex­tend to the left eye which has good vi­sion. The right eye is rel­a­tively clear on the edge of the eye.”

Daniel says be­cause of his treat­ment, there has been very lit­tle ef­fect on his day-to-day life.

“The aim of the treat­ment was to keep the MD eye from in­flu­enc­ing the good eye. The suc­cess­ful treat­ment ad­min­is­tered by Dr Beau­mont has pre­served my good eye and things are look­ing good for the fu­ture.”

Daniel be­lieves this lat­est treat­ment is very im­por­tant for pa­tients with MD.

“Dr Beau­mont and his as­sis­tant are pro­vid­ing a ray of hope to their pa­tients.

“It seems to me that pa­tients are re­ceiv­ing the best of avail­able treat­ment.”

■ Mac­u­lar De­gen­er­a­tion free sem­i­nar, Sun­day, Novem­ber 11, 10.30am-noon, East Pier Ho­tel, Ocean Suite, 50 Nel­son Quay, Ahuriri, Napier. To reg­is­ter to at­tend this free sem­i­nar phone 0800 MACULA (622 852) or email [email protected]


Daniel Paw­son, pic­tured in the li­brary at Princess Alexan­der Re­tire­ment Vil­lage, Napier, has mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.

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