Macula month

May is Macula Month!

May is Macula Month and the ideal time to learn more about macular disease, what support is available to you, and to remind your friends and family members of the importance of looking after their vision!

Macular disease is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. It includes age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease, along with other less common diseases of the macula. Those over 50 are at higher risk of age-related macular degeneration, and everyone with diabetes is at risk of vision loss through diabetic eye disease.

Here at Focus Eye Centre, we have highly trained, and well respected professionals in the ophthalmology field. For more information on Macula Month, come in and see our retinal specialists, Dr Margaret Kearns and Dr Paula Berdoukas.

Learn More – A range of publications produced by Macular Disease Foundation Australia are available free of charge. Publications cover disease information, risk factors, symptoms, preventive measures, and a range of guides on low vision. Next time you visit Focus Eye Centre, ask about these free publications, or call the Foundation toll-free on 1800 111 709 to have these posted to you.

Support – Macular Disease Foundation Australia works alongside ophthalmology practices in support of patients, their family and carers. They offer free advice and support in living well with macular disease and can be contacted on the toll-free Helpline on 1800 111 709.

Having a regular eye test is the best way to detect changes in your vision, early diagnosis and timely treatment gives the best opportunity to save sight. If you, or a family member, notice any sudden changes in vision, call us immediately on 02 9663 3927.

For more information on Macula Month 2018, visit www.mdfoundation.com.au

Keratoconus Treatment Corneal Collagen Cross Linking to be supported by Medicare

Corneal Collagen Cross Linking (CCXL) for keratoconus will be added to the Medicare Benefits Scheme from 1 May 2018.

The lone awaited news has been welcomed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), including the RANZCO-affiliated Australian and New Zealand Cornea Society, who have been calling for this change for a number of years.

Access to rebate for CCXL through Medicare will make this important treatment available for people who were previously unable to access it due to cost and availability.

In Australia, people with keratoconus will often require corneal transplantation, which, while often necessary, is a complex and invasive procedure that requires donor corneas to be available and has a long recovery period. However, if these patients are able to undergo timely CCXL, which uses ultra violet (UV) light and drops to help slow the progression of the condition, it is likely that they can avoid corneal transplantation altogether.

“This is an important step that brings an innovative and effective treatment option to the many people living with the effects of keratoconus in Australia,” said Professor Gerard Sutton, Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Cornea Society. “From 1 May these people will have available to them a less invasive option that could mitigate the need for a full corneal transplant and that can either stop or slow down the progression of this visually impairing condition. This is a hugely positive and very welcome change.”

Keratoconus causes a person’s cornea to change shape over time, often resulting in blurry vision and impacting people’s ability to undertake every day tasks, in particular causing difficulty driving at night.

Bright lights can start to appear streaked, glare and halos can appear around lights and over time visual function can become progressively worse making it difficult to go about daily life.

“The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) endorses the federal government’s initiative in recognising the importance of crosslinking for the prevention of sight threatening disease, and in providing financial support for patients suffering from progressive keratoconus. We are delighted that this important innovation is being made more readily available for those that need it,” said RANZCO President, Associate Professor Mark Daniell.

 

mivision | 11 April 2018

Number of Aussies living with cataracts on the rise

An increasing number of Australians are living with cataracts, particularly women aged over 80, according to new data released by the Medibank Better Health Index.

More than 700,000 Australians were affected by cataracts in 2016-17, an increase of 139,000 compared with 2010-2011. The figures, released to coincide with International Women’s Day, also showed than 18.5% of women aged over 80 were affected by the condition, compared with 13.4% six years ago.

“It’s well known that the risk of developing cataracts increases as people get older, however this new data also suggests there’s been a slight rise in the number of Australians affected,” Medibank clinical director Dr Sue Abhary said.

The numbers also indicate women are more likely to have cataracts than men, with 4.4% of Australian women affected compared with 3.5% of Australian men.

According to The Fred Hollows Foundation, this gender imbalance is reflected worldwide, with women around 1.3x more likely to have a visual impairment than men. As a result, women comprise around 55% of the 36 million people who live with blindness globally.

“We know vision impairment and blindness have far-reaching implications, not just for the women affected, but also for their families and for progress towards many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Fred Hollows CEO Mr Ian Wishart said.

“To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as targets for Vision 2020, we must eliminate all forms of inequity in access to eyecare for women and girls.”

Vision 2020 Australia has committed to working with its members both locally and abroad to help provide women and girls with access to eyecare services, and CEO Ms Carla Northam said it should be a priority for all countries.

“Gender inequality in eye health is clearly a global issue, and we strongly support all of our members doing this work locally and globally,” Northam said.

“Addressing gender imbalances in eye health will go a long way towards reducing avoidable blindness around the world.”

Insight

common eye myths

Busting Common Eye Myths

Can carrots help you see better?

I’m sure we’ve all heard it before, carrots are here to save the day and cure us of all our eyesight problems. But is it true?

We are busting this myth wide open and we are happy to report that yes carrots can contribute to better eye health. Eating carrots will provide you with the small amount of Vitamin A needed for good vision, but they are one of many natural sources of Vitamin A – which is essential for keeping your eyes healthy! Milk, fish, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and silver beet are all rich sources of Vitamin A.

Making sure your diet is jam-packed with Vitamin A can help lessen the chance of developing night blindness as well as other eye problems including vision loss. While not common in Australia, vision loss due to a lack of Vitamin A can still occur if your diet is particularly poor. Those most at risk are adults and children with restricted diets, pregnant women and those with bowel disease.

As one of the most common eye myths, eating carrots is an easy way to maintain and contribute to better eye health. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet contributes to your overall health and wellbeing as well as your eye health. Other important dietary nutrients for eye health include; Omega-3 (sources include all fish and shell fish, fish oils containing liver and butter), Zinc (sources include oysters, seafood, nuts and legumes), vitamin E (sources include nuts and whole grains), vitamin C (sources include citrus fruit, berries and tomatoes), and selenium (sources include nuts).

We welcome you to our centre for an assessment or please feel free to contact our friendly staff with any inquiries.

Donate Life

The Precious Gift of Sight – Donate Life

The Precious Gift of Sight

Did you know that the first ever successful organ transplant occurred in 1905! This was a cornea transplant performed in Austria and at a time where there were no medications and no anesthetics. Both eyes were operated on, and one of the transplants worked giving this blind man vision for over 40 more years.
Cornea donation is a gift of sight possible by most people within the community, last year in NSW / ACT the Lions NSW Eye Bank had 424 donors that made this sight saving decision. The gift from these people and the support from their families allow the gift of sight to more than 700 patients within our community. In NSW we have highly trained corneal surgeons who are able to perform sight saving surgery with these donations.
At Focus Eye Centre our surgeons also perform such transplants and we would like to thank the donors and their families also for their precious gift.
If you wish more information about eye and organ donation please follow the link to the Donate Life website. Please consider also being a organ/tissue donor.
Dr Con Petsoglou MB BS, MMed(Clin.Epi), FRANZCO
Senior Lecturer / Postgraduate Coordinator
Save Sight Institute, Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology

Deputy Director, Lions NSW Eye Bank
University of Sydney
eye conditions, refractive error simulation, astigmatism correction

Refractive Error – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

What are Refractive Errors ?

If your eye is out of focus it could be due to refractive error. This occurs when light rays do not properly focus on the retina.

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eye conditions, cataract simulation

Cataracts – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

What are cataracts ?

Cataracts are a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. This in turn affects vision. Cataracts form for many reasons but the most common is age.  It is normal for people over the age of 65 to have some mild form of cataracts. Causes of Cataract development include age, steroid use, trauma, radiation, or as a result of other eye conditions such as glaucoma.  Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes, sometimes years apart, but it cannot spread from one eye to another.

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eye conditions, keratoconus simulation

Keratoconus – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

What is Keratoconus ?

Keratoconus is a thinning of the central zone of the cornea, the front surface of the eye. As a result of this thinning, the normally round shape of the cornea is distorted and a cone-like bulge develops, resulting in significant visual impairment. The cause of keratoconus remains unknown, although recent research seems to indicate that it may be genetic in origin. Certain allergic and arthritic disorders, Down’s syndrome, chronic eye rubbing, overexposure to sunlight and contact lens wear have occasionally been associated with this condition.

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eye conditions, pterygium simulation

Pterygium – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

What is Pterygium ?

A pterygium is a triangular shaped growth that covers the white part of the eye. It typically presents near the inner corner of the eye and can encroach onto the cornea towards the pupil.
It is composed of conjunctival tissue and can affect one or both eyes. The main cause of a pterygium is exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

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eye conditions, glaucoma simulation

Glaucoma – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

What is Glaucoma ?

Glaucoma is an eye disease which can damage the optic nerve. It typically occurs in people over the age of 60 and those with a family history. They have a build up of pressure inside the eye which results from either too much fluid formation, or a problem with drainage. This pressure in turn damages the delicate optic nerve fibres resulting in vision loss or even blindness. There are many types of glaucoma, but the most common is Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma  ( COAG ).

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