Kingaroy OPSM Optometrist Carolyn Dingle encourages South Burnett residents to get their eyes checked this Macular Month.
Kingaroy OPSM Optometrist Carolyn Dingle encourages South Burnett residents to get their eyes checked this Macular Month. Jessica McGrath

Five ways to keep an eye on your health this macula month

OPTOMETRISTS are encouraging South Burnett residents to keep an eye on their health this Macula Month.

OPSM Kingaroy is on a mission to educate the South Burnett on the eye disease that can lead to loss of vision or blindness as May marks the beginning of Macula Month.

Macular disease affects 1.29 million Australians and is the nation's leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness.

However, many Australians still confuse symptoms of the disease with normal signs of ageing.

Optometrist Carolyn Dingle said although the condition may not make itself apparent until later in life, preventative measures can be started early to ensure a better outcome.

"Macular disease is a chronic condition that can be diagnosed through regular eye tests that examine the retina,” she said.

"Advanced technology, available at OPSM Kingaroy, such as the Ultra Wide Digital Retinal Scan (UWDRS) and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) can help detect the disease in store, during a routine eye test.”

Detecting any form of macular disease early is crucial as there are a substantial number of treatment options available to slow its progression.

"The disease is most prevalent in those over 50, those with a parent or sibling with the disease, and if you have diabetes. If you're a smoker, the risk is three to four times higher,” Ms Dingle said.

Kingaroy OPSM Optometrist Carolyn Dingle encourages South Burnett residents to get their eyes checked this Macular Month.
Kingaroy OPSM Optometrist Carolyn Dingle encourages South Burnett residents to get their eyes checked this Macular Month. Jessica McGrath

Five top tips for macular disease care and prevention:

1. Visit an optometrist at least once every two years, or as advised by your eye health professional.

2. Don't smoke -it damages the cells in your retina and more than doubles the risk of age-related macular disease.

3. Protect your retina from the impact of harmful UV rays by wearing good quality sunglasses.

4. Eat well -research suggests eating healthy, well-balanced diets can help reduce the risk of macular disease.

Dark green leafy vegetables, a handful of nuts each week, eating fish two to three times a week and eating low glycemic index carbohydrates can all help. Also eating foods high in zeaxanthin and lutein nutrients have been found to slow the condition.

5. Be self-aware: have you noticed a change in your vision?

Between visits to your eye health professional, those over 50 should monitor for changes in vision by using an Amsler grid -a simple tool which will test for symptoms of macular disease. To order a free Amsler grid call the Macular Disease Foundation Australia on 1800111709.

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