Prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration - Eyecare Plus Ashgrove
By Durkin & Black Optometrists
Prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration

Prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration


Prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration

May is Macula Month so what better time to share this post from our head office team all about age-related macular degeneration.  If this article raises any issues for you, feel free to book an appointment for an eye test.

Before sight-saving eye injections arrived in Australia in 2007, most people diagnosed with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) went blind – sometimes quite rapidly.

Fifteen years later, Australia is a world leader in the treatment of wet AMD. This major breakthrough has transformed the lives of so many, saving the sight of thousands of Australians, who have been able to maintain their vision and continue to enjoy full, active lives long after their diagnosis.

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (or ‘AMD’) is a disease that affects people 50 years or older and causes progressive loss of central vision and affects people’s ability to read, watch TV, and recognise faces. It is responsible for half of all blindness and severe vision loss in Australia.

About one in seven (1.4 million) Australians over the age of 50 years have some evidence of AMD.

There are three stages of macular degeneration: early AMD, intermediate AMD, and late AMD.

Late AMD can be further divided into two classifications: neovascular, sometimes called wet, macular degeneration (wet AMD) and atrophic, sometimes called dry, macular degeneration (dry AMD) or geographic atrophy.

How to reduce AMD risk

To reduce the risk of getting AMD or slow its progression if you have already been diagnosed, follow these four tips.

  1. Regular eye exams

To detect AMD early you need to have an AMD eye examination at least every two years if you are over the age of 50, then once a year when you reach 65. Early detection opens the window for early sight-saving treatment, if necessary.


  1. Stop smoking

have a three to four times higher risk of getting AMD compared to non-smokers. The disease will occur five to 10 years earlier for people who smoke.

  1. Exercise

Exercise can reduce the risk of developing late AMD by 79%. As AMD  is associated with ageing, people who are physically active are also more likely to be ‘biologically’ younger than those with a sedentary lifestyle.

  1. Eat a healthy diet

Eat a macula-friendly diet including fish two or three times a week, dark-green leafy vegetables, and fresh fruit every day, a handful of nuts each week, low GI carbohydrates, and limit the amount of fats in your diet.

60 seconds could save your sight

Developed by MDFA, Check My Macula is a short online quiz that helps you to understand your individual risk factors of macular disease. It then helps you book an eye examination – including a macula check – with your local Eyecare Plus optometrist.

Sixty seconds could save your sight – one minute and five simple questions is all it takes to discover your personal risks. Once you know your risks of AMD you can then take early action to preserve your vision.

Overcoming barriers

For the estimated 156,000 Australians who have wet AMD, regular sight-saving eye injections can help slow or prevent permanent vision loss. It is critical that patients receiving eye injections for wet AMD continue with their treatment.

However, for far too many, the barriers to continuing treatment can be insurmountable – cost, transport, and the physical burden being the main issues. Sadly, because of these factors, about one in five patients stop their treatment inside 12 months, and more than half give up within five years, increasing their risk of permanent vision loss or blindness.

May is Macula Month, the time of the year when Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) raises awareness of macular disease.

A 2020 MDFA patient survey revealed 29% of respondents receiving eye injections have considered delaying or stopping eye injections due to cost, while 35% have cut down on expenses like food, medicine and even mortgage payments to afford them.

“We look forward to the day when every patient in Australia has the best chance of benefiting from treatment and retaining vision for the rest of their lives,” MDFA CEO Dee Hopkins says.

MDFA is committed to continuing our advocacy work to increase access to sight saving treatment.

If you would like to find out more about macular disease talk to us or visit the MDFA website to hear passionate stories from patients about their journey with macular disease.

Ready to book an appointment?

Online bookings available or call us on (07) 3463 0349.

This website does not provide medical advice.  It is intended for informational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment.  If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately dial Triple 0 (000).