May is Macula Month, and this year the Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) is asking all Australians to keep their vision S.A.F.E by remembering the four key risks and prevention measures for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
S – smoking,
A – age,
F – family history, and
E – eye examinations.
Macula Month is MDFA’s annual awareness drive, which aims to encourage members of the general public to contact their local optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination.
The 2020 campaign will specifically talk to people turning 50, using the S.A.F.E mnemonic to educate about the key risks of AMD.
The awareness campaign will be supported by a new online tool, targeting the 8.5 million Australians potentially at risk of macular disease.
“Smoking, age and family history are major risk factors for developing AMD, which is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia,” MDFA CEO Dee Hopkins said.
“While there’s not much we can do about turning back the clock, and we can’t choose our family, smoking is a modifiable risk factor and regular eye exams will help detect AMD in the early stages.
“In Australia, one in seven people over the age of 50 have some evidence of AMD, so this year we’re targeting people in that specific age group with the message of prevention and early detection,” Ms Hopkins said.
“We want Australians generally to understand the S.A.F.E risk and prevention factors for AMD, self-identify if they’re at risk and empower them to take immediate action by visiting their optometrist.”
Ms Hopkins said the enthusiastic adoption of MDFA’s campaign by eye health professionals in past years has seen Macula Month become a staple in the sector’s promotional calendar.
“As always, we’ll be helping optometrists, orthoptists, ophthalmologists and general health care practitioners to get the word out. We will have communication toolkits containing everything you need to run your own Macula Month program. This will be available for free from MDFA’s website in April.
“As always, we are able to supply eye health professionals with Amsler grids, and disease information brochures and booklets, aimed at their patients,” Ms Hopkins said.
Resources can be ordered from MDFA’s website: www.mdfoundation.com.au. For further information about getting involved in the Macula Month campaign, contact MDFA’s communication team: communications@ mdfoundation.com.au.