Halls Head optometrist raises eye health issue during Macula Month

A Halls Head optometrist is hoping to raise awareness of a debilitating eye health condition over the next month.

Responsible for 50 per cent of all cases of blindness and severe vision loss, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the diseases that affects the retina at the back of the eye, which is responsible for central vision.

While AMD has a range of causes, family history is a major factor.

May is Macula Month - a campaign to raise awareness of all macular diseases.

Halls Head optometrist Carl Slabber said looking after the eyes of local residents was one of the main reasons he recently became a co-owner of Specsavers Halls Head.

"The irreversible effects of AMD can be slowed down if detected early by an optometrist and lifestyle risk factors are addressed," he said.

"That's why it's important to get your eyes tested by an optometrist at least once every two years from the age of 40."

Mr Slabber said 70 local patients had shown potential signs of retinal conditions in the past six months, while over 5000 Halls Head residents over 35 years old do not know their family medical history in relation to eye health.

Macular Disease Foundation Australia chief executive Dee Hopkins said Australians should discuss eye health with their family to understand the risk for themselves and for generations to follow.

"If you or one of your first-degree family members - mother, father, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters - have AMD, then others in your family have that 50 per cent risk," she said.

"I encourage everyone to start an eye-health discussion next time your family gathers together. It could be a conversation that has a lifechanging impact on your loved ones."

For more information visit www.mdfoundation.com.au.