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Rotary Behind the Fight Against Blinding Disease

Melanie Kell | 29 May 2013
Rotary and Vision Eye Institute have teamed up to support Macular Degeneration Awareness Week.

Yea Rotary Club, District 9790 and Vision Eye Institute are encouraging everyone over the age of 50 to secure a free self-testing tool – an Amsler Grid – that could save their sight.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Australia. Yet if it is detected in the early stages, treatment can often slow or even stop the progression of the disease.

 “Early detection is vital in saving sight,” said Dr. Simon Chen, a retinal specialist with Vision Eye Institute. “Something as simple as an Amsler Grid can make the difference between retaining good central vision and losing that sight permanently.”

An Amsler Grid is an envelope-sized card. It consists of horizontal and vertical lines that form small ‘squares’. The central point in the middle is a dot.

Jeannie Handsaker, International Service Director of the Yea Rotary Club, District 9790, has a very personal association with macular degeneration – her husband was diagnosed with the disorder several years ago. This has led her to champion the partnership with Vision Eye Institute, encouraging everyone over 50 to use an Amsler Grid.

She said optometrists can encourage their patients to keep an Amsler Grid on their fridge, then test themselves once a week. “If any of the lines in the grid are wavy, missing or blurred, they should be advised to see an eye care specialist immediately.”

Realising the difficulty in distributing this vision-saving tool to millions of households over Australia, Ms. Handsaker called on Vision Eye Institute to assist with the cause. Vision Eye Institute is sending free Amsler Grids to anyone who oputs in a request by calling or visiting the company’s website.


' Something as simple as an Amsler Grid can make the difference between retaining good central vision and losing that sight permanently... '