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MDNZ awareness week

Have you had your Macula checked lately?

To this question many people ask “What is my Macula?” with no idea of which part of the body is affected by the macula. The macula is in the very centre of the retina at the back of the eye. A healthy macula lets you read, recognise faces, drive a car, see colours clearly and handle any activity that requires fine vision.

Macular Degeneration is an eye disease that can quickly lead to vision loss if left untreated.

One in seven New Zealanders over the age of 50 will contract this eye disease.

A recent Galaxy poll showed that 41% of New Zealanders over the age of 50 do not even know what macular degeneration is, yet it is nearly as prevalent as heart disease and half as prevalent as diabetes*.

Far too many people are going blind because they don’t know that a simple test can identify early changes and save their sight.  People mistakenly think that blindness is an inevitable consequence of getting old but that's no longer the case – provided that people know the warning signs of macular degeneration and seek treatment early.

Detecting macular degeneration can be as simple as taking the Amsler Grid test regularly. It can be done in the comfort of your home or wherever you see a grid pattern. If the lines in the grid appear distorted or bent, then contact an optometrist without delay.


The disease can progress very quickly - within weeks or months for the most severe form - causing rapid vision loss. Although the treatments are not a cure, they stabilise vision and help to prevent further sight loss.

Vision loss has a huge effect on day-to-day life.

People with macular degeneration cannot recognise faces, can no longer read, drive, or in most cases, work.  This is because they lose all of their central vision.



An eye test with an optometrist is recommended every two years for this age group. Early detection saves sight.


For further information contact Macular Degeneration NZ (09) 307 2103 or visit





Published: 22 Feb 2017
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