Don’t lose sight of a healthy diet


Australians are being encouraged to improve their diet to reduce the rate of macular disease which is currently the leading cause of blindness in Australia. This message is being reinforced during Macula Month, an annual awareness campaign aiming at helping Australians understand the risks and effects of macular diseases.

Approximately 1.7 million Australians exhibit some evidence of macular disease such as blurred vision or sensitivity to light, with the majority of those people aged over 50[1]. Two of the most common macular diseases are age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease which can be attributed to lifestyle elements such as diet.

The call for Australians to regulate their diet comes amidst new research from the CSRIO which revealed that nearly four out of five Australians are overindulging in junk foods every day[2], thus leaving less space for eating fresh fruit and vegetables.

Bupa Optical Optometrist Karen Makin said prevention and early detection is the key to protecting your sight and avoiding macular disease.

"One the simplest things you can do to help prevent macular disease and maximise the health of your eyes is eating well.

"Things like green leafy vegetables, fish, fresh fruit and foods high in antioxidants can all help in keeping your macula healthy… it’s not just carrots as the old myths would have you believe!" Karen said.

Karen also recommends having regular eye tests, at least every two years but more often if your family has a history of eye disease, you are diabetic, or you are over 65.

The macula is located at the centre of the retina, in the back of the eyes, and is responsible for detailed central vision. Bupa’s digital retinal scan technology allows optometrists to gauge the health of the macula in just a few minutes.

“Regular eye tests aren’t just for updating your glasses prescription, they can also act as the first step in identifying and hopefully getting on top of eye and general health issues before they spiral out of control,” said Karen.

To book an eye test at your local Bupa Optical store, visit here.

For more advice on healthy eating for your eyes visit here.

[1] https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/about-macular-disease/overview/

[2] https://www.csiro.au/en/news/news-releases/2021/new-csiro-tool-to-combat-australia-1-diet-issue

Media reference number: 20/126