A message from Dee Hopkins, CEO, Macular Disease Foundation Australia
Over the past 15 years, the level of awareness of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has changed behaviours in Australians over the age of 50.
In 2007, one in three Australians over 50 were having an eye test every two years. This has now increased to two in three, with the level of awareness of macular degeneration now sitting at 85 per cent in this age bracket. Our work in supporting older Australians has established an international standard for macular health awareness, and this model for success must now be translated across other macular diseases, and specifically the burgeoning issue of diabetic eye disease.
This May, you’ll notice a couple of changes to our annual awareness campaign. Firstly, the program will extend to one whole month – Macula Month. Why? Because one week just isn’t long enough to do the job we need to do. Secondly, our reach will extend beyond macular degeneration and will shine the light on diabetic retinopathy and lesser known macular diseases.
As in past years, a Galaxy poll of the Australian population has provided some interesting and alarming statistics we need to take heed of, and act upon. In particular, the correlation between those living with diabetes and understanding that they are at risk of diabetic eye disease is a glaring disparity.
While we have come so far, we still have far to go. I call upon everyone in the eye care community to join us in supporting Macula Month, and together let’s work towards eliminating preventable blindness caused by macular disease.