Eye check helps save sight

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

The white lines on the road seemed to wob­ble slightly as she drove.

But Blen­heim woman Wendy Reynolds, 67, put oc­ca­sional prob­lems with her sight down to age.

How­ever, the el­der care co-or­di­na­tor was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing symp­toms of a dis­ease that could have left her blind.

A rou­tine eye check un­cov­ered the con­di­tion, mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, and Reynolds wants to warn oth­ers to get reg­u­lar eye checks.

‘‘Just some­times when I was driv­ing, the lines on the road wob­bled and seem to split. I wear glasses and thought I just needed new ones.

‘‘I went in for an or­di­nary eye test and the op­ti­cian said he was sorry to tell me that I needed to see a spe­cial­ist straight away. But even then I didn’t re­ally think any­thing of it,’’ she said.

Mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion is the lead­ing cause of blind­ness in New Zealand, af­fect­ing one in seven peo­ple aged over 50. Early de­tec­tion and prompt treat­ment is vi­tal.

The age-re­lated con­di­tion is a grow­ing prob­lem in New Zealand with more than 200,000 peo­ple thought to suf­fer from it.

It causes pro­gres­sive mac­u­lar dam­age re­sult­ing in loss of cen­tral vi­sion while pe­riph­eral vi­sion is not af­fected.

‘‘I hadn’t even heard of it be­fore, I thought the op­ti­cian was prob­a­bly just be­ing overly cau­tious. I was quite blase about it re­ally,’’ Reynolds said.

‘‘I saw a spe­cial­ist pri­vately and he told me that I needed to have in­jec­tions in my eyes for the rest of my life and that if I didn’t, I could go blind. It was a shock.’’

Reynolds is now hav­ing reg­u­lar Phar­mac-funded Eylea in­jec­tions, which has im­proved the con­di­tion in one eye.

But she said her left eye had proved more prob­lem­atic.

The proud owner of a new $120,000 mo­bile home, Reynolds said she was wor­ried that one day she would not be able to drive it.

The keen an­i­mal lover, who shows her pedi­gree poo­dles around New Zealand, said the dis­ease had some­times made it more dif­fi­cult to at­tend events. Las Ve­gas in­vestors su­ing the di­rec­tor of an up­mar­ket Nel­son win­ery busi­ness will soon get their day in court.

The Court of Ap­peal has up­held a High Court judge’s de­ci­sion dis­miss­ing Ma­hana Es­tates di­rec­tor Glenn Scha­ef­fer’s bid to end or de­lay the case on the grounds he feared vi­o­lence from threats by one of the in­vestors.

Scha­ef­fer is be­ing sued by former friends, Las Ve­gas en­ter­tain­ment ex­ec­u­tives James Mur­ren and Daniel Lee, who in­vested in the Ma­hana busi­ness.

They are seek­ing to re­cover their in­vest­ments – $1.6 mil­lion for Mur­ren and $700,000 for Lee – al­leg­ing ‘‘neg­li­gent mis­state­ment, de­ceit and fraud­u­lent mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion’’ by Scha­ef­fer. A trial is sched­uled for the High Court at Nel­son this month.

The Ma­hana Es­tates busi­ness, which has been on the mar­ket, went into re­ceiver­ship last month.

Scha­ef­fer asked the case to be struck out be­cause dur­ing a me­di­a­tion hear­ing a year ago he said Lee had made threats against him that ‘‘he knew where I lived, knew where my fam­ily lived and knew where my dogs lived’’.

‘‘He said if I did not give him back his money that he would bury me in the desert like in the old days, he would de­stroy my chil­dren’s lives and bank­rupt my ex-wife and travel to Omaha to kill my three show dogs.’’

Lee de­nied such a threat was made. He said he had told Scha­ef­fer if the dis­pute had hap­pened in the ‘‘old days’’, he might have ‘‘ended up buried in the Ne­vada desert’’, but things were done dif­fer­ently now.

Scha­ef­fer said his abil­ity to de­fend the case was prej­u­diced be­cause of the fears of vi­o­lence. In his ap­peal, he said the High Court should have fur­ther ex­am­ined the im­pact of the threats and called wit­nesses.

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