Eye health

Are you at risk of macular disease?

It’s Macula month this May!

Championing eye health during Macula Month 2018 (1 to 31 May) we are calling on locals to look after their macular health and have an eye test this May.

Macular disease is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia1. It includes age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease, along with other less common diseases of the macula. The macula is the name given to the area at the very centre of the retina. This region is responsible for detailed central vision and most colour vision. It is responsible for the ability to read, recognise faces, drive a car, see colours clearly and any other activity that requires fine vision.

Many people in our community are at risk of developing macular disease but just don’t know it. Those over 50 are at higher risk of age-related macular degeneration1, and everyone with diabetes is at risk of developing vision loss from retinopathy2.

It’s essential to have a regular eye test including a macula check, as you can have the early stages of the disease without knowing. If you’re at risk, Macula Month is the perfect time to have your eyes tested by an optometrist.

Also, no matter what your age, if you have sudden changes in your vision you need to have your eyes tested immediately.

Macula Month is an initiative of Macular Disease Foundation Australia. Chief Executive Officer, Dee Hopkins, said that in addition to having your eyes tested, she wanted the community to learn more about macular disease.

“Knowledge is definitely power in the defence against macular disease, so it’s imperative Australians learn what they can do to minimise their risk. This can be as simple as eating an eye friendly diet and modifying or managing lifestyle choices.

“Macular Disease Foundation Australia is committed to supporting the community through offering expert health information and advice through our free publications and via our toll-free Helpline,” said Dee.

Optometry Australia Chief Executive Officer, Lyn Brodie says, “Optometry is at the front line of eye care in Australia. With the prevalence of macular disease expected to rise1,3, we fully support Macular Disease Foundation Australia’s efforts in raising awareness during Macula Month.”

Is it time to get your eyes tested?

About Macula Month – 1 to 31 May 2018

Macula Month is an initiative of Macular Disease Foundation Australia and runs for the month of May. It is an annual campaign designed to raise awareness of macular disease, which includes age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease, along with other less common diseases of the macula. Macular disease is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Australia. Macula Month 2018 calls on Australians to reduce their risk of developing macular disease by following three simple steps. Step 1: See your optometrist for an eye test including a macula check; Step 2: Adopt an eye healthy diet and lifestyle; Step 3: Order a free information kit. To order a kit or find out more contact Macular Disease Foundation Australia on 1800 111 709 or visit www.mdfoundation.com.au

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australians over 50, with 1.29 million people having some evidence of the disease1. Age-related macular degeneration causes progressive loss of central vision, leaving the peripheral or side vision intact.

Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease refers to a range of conditions, the most common being diabetic retinopathy. Over one million Australian adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. Nearly as many are believed to have diabetes but are undiagnosed. The prevalence of diabetes is climbing rapidly posing major public health and economic concerns3. Diabetes can result in a number of serious complications including diabetic eye disease. Most people with type 1 diabetes and over 60% of people with type 2 diabetes will develop diabetic eye disease within 20 years of diagnosis. The significant increase in diabetes prevalence is expected to increase the number of people with diabetic eye disease3. Early diagnosis and intervention can dramatically reduce vision loss.

About Macular Disease Foundation Australia

Macular Disease Foundation Australia’s (MDFA) vision is to reduce the incidence and impact of macular disease in Australia through education, awareness, research, support services and representation. It is a national charity providing independent, free, expert advice on preventing and living well with macular disease.

For more information call 1800 111 709 or visit www.mdfoundation.com.au

About Optometry Australia

Optometry Australia is the peak professional body for optometrists. Optometry Australia’s focus is to lead and advance the profession of optometry by putting eye-health front and centre of Australian health care.

For more information on optometry services in Australia visit www.optometry.org.au


  1. ‘Eyes on the future – A clear outlook on age-related macular degeneration’. Report by Deloitte Access Economics & Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2011. 2018 prevalence estimates are derived from a straight line extrapolation between 2015 and 2020 estimates in this report.
  2. Guidelines for the Management of Diabetic Retinopathy. NHMRC 2008.
  3. “Out of Sight – A Report into Diabetic Eye Disease in Australia”. Baker IDI and Centre for Eye Research Australia 2013.