Managing MD easier
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.