Macular disease: Australia's leading cause of blindness

Do you know what the macular is? Or what it does? Bupa Optometrist Karen Markin writes about the the leading cause of blindness in this country.

What is the macular?

The macular is located at the centre of the retina, in the back of the eyes, and is responsible for our detailed central vision. The macular allows us to look directly at an object and see it clearly.

Without it we wouldn’t be able to see the faces of our loved ones, we would have difficulties reading and writing, and we may not be able to do many of the things we love to do.

What is macular disease?

Macular disease is a term used to describe a number of diseases that affect the macular. Two of the most common macular diseases are age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and diabetic eye disease (such as diabetic retinopathy).

Macular disease impacts millions of Australians and is the leading cause of blindness in this country. And diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of preventable blindness amongst Australians. But it is not all bad news! There are some things you can do now to help maintain the health of your macular, helping you see well into the future.

During May there is an increased focus on macular disease awareness, and you may have seen articles in the media recently. However, we should be aware of the macular and macular disease throughout every month of the year.

How to prevent macular disease

To reduce the risk of macular disease I recommend:

  • Having regular eye tests, at least every 2 years but more often if:

    • there is a family history of macular (or any eye) disease

    • you are diabetic

    • you are over 65

  • Don’t smoke

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle

  • Eat well!

Foods to prevent macular disesase

Interestingly, there are many foods that are good for the eyes, and for the macular in particular – and not carrots as you may have been thinking! Things like green leafy vegetables, fish, fresh fruit and foods high in antioxidants can all help in keeping your macular healthy.

Macular Disease Foundation Australia has created a ‘Macular Menu’. The Macular Menu features contributions from celebrities and celebrity chefs, eye health professionals, members of the macular disease community and Diabetes Australia. Recipes included are designed to help you have a healthy macular, particularly for age-related macular degeneration, diabetes and general healthy eating. I have tried a few of them, and they are great!

Download your free Macular Menu.

Early detection protects against macular disease

As with many conditions, early detection is key to minimise the risks associated with macular disease.

Make an appointment to see your optometrist today! There is no better time than the present. Our Bupa Optical optometrists are well-equipped to check your macular and perform regular eye examinations.

You can even make an appointment online: https://www.bupaoptical.com.au/book-an-eye-test

Read more health news