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Open your eyes to macular disease

Sarah Hawe at OPSM Hinkler.

Bundaberg residents are being urged to save their sight by getting their eyes tested this May as part of Macula Month.

Local OPSM Hinkler Optometrist Sarah Hawe is passionate about reminding residents of the importance of eye tests, knowing how important they really are with a family member suffering from Macular Degeneration.

“I am passionate about eye health so am always advocating for regular eye checks to keep people aware of how their eyes are changing and developing,” she said.

“The key thing to remember is we need to detect eye conditions as early as possible, especially when 80% of blindness is preventable.”

Having seen the effects of Macular Degeneration firsthand within her family, Sarah said that Macula Month was a fantastic reminder of why eye tests are so crucial, with many misconceptions currently existing around eye health.

“The most common misconception is that only those who have corrective eyewear need to have their eyes tested,” she said.

“Eye tests can also pick up on the early signs of eye diseases such as macular disease, glaucoma, as well as indicators for broader health issues such as diabetes.”

Sarah explained that while there was nothing that could prevent macular disease, there were some things that you could do to keep your macula healthy.

“By keeping your macula healthy, it could delay the onset or progression of age-related macula degeneration,” she said.

“This includes not smoking, doing regular exercise, adopting an eye-healthy diet and protecting your eyes from the sun with high UV protection sunglasses.”

OPSM Hinkler is sharing educational emails with all over 50s in their database to assist in understanding the prevalence of macular disease and the key symptoms to watch out for.

Symptoms of age-related macular disease include:
· Difficulty with reading or any other activity that requires fine vision.
· Distortion, where straight lines appear wavy or bent.
· Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the centre of your vision.
· Problems distinguishing faces.

You can check your macula by doing the 60 second online quiz here.

OPSM bulk bill eye tests for all eligible Medicare card holders.

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