Baby boomers urged to get eyes tested as part of Macular Degeneration Week


Luagh Mulligan (Warwick) with optometrist Michelle Bell.
Luagh Mulligan (Warwick) with optometrist Michelle Bell.

BABY boomers are encouraged to have eye checks due to the risk of macular degeneration among people born between 1946 and 1965.

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia used Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, which ends tomorrow , to encourage the age group to get checks.

“All the baby boomers are now aged over 50 and that means they’re at risk of macular degeneration,” patron Ita Buttrose said.

“For this reason it is critical to have an eye test and macula check and adopt eye health diet and lifestyle practices.

“Baby boomers have changed the definition of ageing; more than any generation before, they’re working longer, travelling widely and have big plans for their future.

“They are the first generation who can expect to live a decade or two of relatively healthy life after retirement.

“That’s why it is important part of their plan for the future includes preventative steps to save their sight from macular degeneration.

“Follow the foundation’s eye health diet and lifestyle recommendations such as eating dark green leafy vegetables especially spinach, fresh fruit and fish.

“Exercise regularly and don’t smoke. These practices are not only good for your eyes, they’re also good for your bones, heart and brain.

“I saw the impact vision loss had on my father’s life. He had macular degeneration and now my uncle, his youngest brother, does too.

“Fortunately he is receiving effective sight saving treatment because his macular degeneration was detected early and he received timely treatment. At 92, he is still able to drive.

“A direct family history of macular degeneration means a 50 per cent chance of developing the disease. So if, like me, you have a direct family member with the disease be vigilant with your eye health.”

Health Minister John Day said it was vital to have an eye test and macula check, as Warwick resident Luagh Mulligan did with Michelle Bell at Options Optometrists Joondalup this week.

“Almost a third WA’s population is over 50 which means many are at risk of macular degeneration,” he said.

“It is estimated that more than 106,000 West Australians already have some evidence of the disease.

“As a baby boomer myself, this is a timely reminder of the importance of an eye test and macula check.”

Foundation chief executive Julie Heraghty said people could have the early signs of macular degeneration without knowing it.

“That’s why an eye test is essential,” she said.

“In between appointments use a simple tool, the Amsler grid, to monitor changes in your vision.

“Never dismiss any changes in vision as just getting older. Act quickly, because early detection can save your sight.”

For a free macular degeneration information kit and Amsler grid contact Macular Disease Foundation Australia on 1800 111 709 or visit www.mdfoundation.com.au.