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Amsler grid

Save your Sight with an Amsler Grid: Free macular degeneration test

Save your Sight with an Amsler Grid: Free macular degeneration test

Macular degeneration (age related macular degeneration) is the leading cause of blindness in Australia. It is possible to reduce the risk of losing sight from macular degeneration by living a healthy lifestyle and having your macula checked regularly by an eye health professional.

The Amsler grid is an easy to use self- monitoring tool that can detect changes in your vision. The changes in your vision may be signs of macular degeneration or other eye diseases. The Amsler grid has a printed grid with a dot in the center.

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If you’re at risk for macular degeneration or other eye diseases, or over the age of 50, you can use the chart once a week at home to monitor your vision. Early detection means early treatment.

Macular Disease Foundation Australian advise people that have been diagnosed with early signs of macular degeneration to use the Amsler Grid every day to determine any deterioration.

How to use the Amsler grid :

  • Wear the glasses or contact lenses you normally use for reading
  • Hold the Amsler grid at normal reading distance in a well-lit room
  • Fully cover one eye then use the uncovered eye to focus on the centre dot
  • Repeat the process with the other eye.

When used in this way, one eye at a time, potential issues can be identified in individual eyes. These changes may include distortion of lines – straight lines may appear wavy or bent. Additionally, dark or empty spaces may appear.

The Amsler grid should not be used in place of seeking advice from a medical professional. It should be used to detect early changes that should then be immediately reported to your eye doctor. Your doctor will then perform a comprehensive eye exam.

You can request an Amsler grid from your eye doctor or order a free Amsler grid from Macular Disease Foundation Australia.

You can contact the Macular Disease Foundation Australia on the National Helpline: 1800 111 709 and Focus Eye Centre on (02) 9663 3927 for more information.

Macula Month

May is Macula Month!

Macula Month – 1 to 31 May 2019

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 2019 calls on Australians to reduce their risk of developing macular disease by following four simple steps:

Step 1: See your optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination including a macula check;

Step 2: Adopt an eye healthy diet and lifestyle;

Step 3: Have a conversation with your family about eye health; and

Step 4: 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/resources

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 disease [1]. 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 concerns [2]. Diabetes can result in a number of serious complications including diabetic eye disease. Most people with type 1 diabetes and over 60 per cent 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 disease [3]. Early diagnosis and intervention can dramatically reduce vision loss.

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 the national peak body for the macular disease community 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

References:

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.- See more at: https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/Macula-Month-Links-background-info#sthash.UehwwLmx.dpuf

AMD

Mediterranean Diet Prevents AMD

Evidence is mounting that a poor diet plays an important role in the development of agerelated macular degeneration (AMD). A large collaboration of researchers from the European Union investigating the connection between genes and lifestyle on the development of AMD have found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet cut their risk of late-stage AMD by 41 per cent. This research expands on previous studies and suggests that such a diet is beneficial for everyone, whether you already have the disease or are at risk of developing it.

A Mediterranean diet emphasises eating less meat and more fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains, and olive oil. Previous research has linked it to a longer lifespan and a reduced incidence of heart disease and cognitive decline. But only a few studies have evaluated its impact on AMD. Some studies showed it could help with certain types of AMD, or only at different stages of the disease.

I believe this is a public health issue on the same scale as smoking

When this earlier research on AMD was combined with the latest data, researchers said a clear picture emerged: diet has the potential to prevent a blinding disease.

AMD is a degenerative eye disease that causes loss of central vision. Around one in seven Australians – or 1.29 million people – over the age of 50 years has some evidence of this disease.

For this latest study, researchers analysed food frequency questionnaires from nearly 5,000 people who participated in two previous investigations – the Rotterdam Study, which evaluated disease risk in people age 55 and older, and the Alienor Study, which assessed the association between eye diseases and nutritional factors in people aged 73 and older.

Patients in the Rotterdam study were examined and completed food questionnaires every five years over a 21 year period, while patients in the Alienor Study were seen every two years over four years. The researchers found that those who closely followed the diet were 41 per cent less likely to develop AMD compared with those who did not follow the diet.

They also found that none of the individual components of a Mediterranean diet on their own – fish, fruit, vegetables, etc. – lowered the risk of AMD. Rather, it was the entire pattern of eating a nutrient-rich diet that significantly reduced the risk of late AMD.

“You are what you eat,” said Dr. Emily Chew, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, who serves on an advisory board to the research group conducting the study. “I believe this is a public health issue on the same scale as smoking. Chronic diseases such as AMD, dementia, obesity, and diabetes, all have roots in poor dietary habits. It’s time to take quitting a poor diet as seriously as quitting smoking.”

The new research was published online in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Article appeared on mivision

31st October 2018

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

amd

New treatment to fight against sight loss caused by AMD

Patients regain sight after being first to receive retinal tissue engineered from stem cells

  • Successful trial on patients using new stem cell based treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Results from a clinical study suggest the treatment is safe and effective.
  • The study is a major milestone for the London Project to Cure Blindness and could lead to an ‘off-the-shelf’ treatment within five years.

The first patients to receive a new treatment derived from stem cells for people with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have regained reading vision.

The results of this ground-breaking clinical study, published in Nature Biotech, described the implantation of a specially engineered patch of retinal pigment epithelium cells derived from stem cells to treat people with sudden severe sight loss from wet AMD. It is hoped that it will also help treat dry AMD in the future.

It’s the first description of a complete engineered tissue that has been successfully used in this way.

The study is a major milestone for the London Project to Cure Blindness, a partnership between Professor Pete Coffey from University College London and Professor Lyndon da Cruz, a retinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  The Project has also been supported by the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

AMD is the most common cause of sight loss in the UK, and can lead to a rapid loss of central (reading) vision. The two patients who underwent the procedure, a woman in her early 60s and a man in his 80s, had the severe form of the condition (wet AMD) and declining vision.

The study investigated whether the diseased cells at the back the patients’ affected eye could be replenished using the stem cell based patch. A specially engineered surgical tool was used to insert the patch under the retina in the affected eye of each patient in an operation lasting one to two hours.

The patients were monitored for 12 months and reported improvements to their vision. They went from not being able to read at all even with glasses, to reading 60-80 words per minute with normal reading glasses.

Photo of Douglas Waters, patient to receive trial treatment.

Douglas Waters, 86, from Croydon, London, was one of two people who had received the treatment at Moorfields Eye Hospital. He developed severe wet AMD in July 2015 and received the treatment three months later in his right eye. He says: “In the months before the operation my sight was really poor and I couldn’t see anything out of my right eye. I was struggling to see things clearly, even when up-close. After the surgery my eyesight improved to the point where I can now read the newspaper and help my wife out with the gardening. It’s brilliant what the team have done and I feel so lucky to have been given my sight back.”

Professor Lyndon da Cruz, consultant retinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:

“The results suggest that this new therapeutic approach is safe and provides good visual outcomes. The patients who received the treatment had very severe AMD, and their improved vision will go some way towards enhancing their quality of life. We recognise that this is a small group of patients, but we hope that what we have learned from this study will benefit many more in the future.”

Professor Pete Coffey, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology said:

“This study represents real progress in regenerative medicine and opens the door to new treatment options for people with age-related macular degeneration. We hope this will lead to an affordable ‘off-the-shelf’ therapy that could be made available to NHS patients within the next five years.”

Robert Dufton, chief executive of Moorfields Eye Charity said:

“The results from this trial are fantastic and the culmination of years of research by the London Project team. Philanthropy has played a critical role in the London Project since its inception and we are delighted that this support continues through Moorfields Eye Charity. This ground-breaking milestone demonstrates the real impact philanthropy plays in creating life-changing moments, such as helping someone regain their sight.”

Successful trials of new treatment at Moorfields in fight against sight loss caused by AMD

Intravitreal Injections

What types of conditions will benefit from Intravitreal Injections?

Intravitreal injections are used to deliver drugs to the retina and other structures in the back of the eye. Common conditions treated with intravitreal injections include macular degenerationdiabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular diseases and ocular inflammation.

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eye conditions, macular degeneration simulation

Macular Degeneration – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

What is Macular Degeneration ?

The macula is a small central area of the retina. Structures in the macula are specialised for high acuity vision. The macula is important for reading, driving, recognition of faces and fine detail. Damage to the macula, such as Macular Degeneration, can lead to a loss of central vision.

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