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‘Baby boomers’ at risk

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BABY boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, are at risk of macular degeneration, Australia’s leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss.
“All the baby boomers are now aged over 50 and that means they’re at risk of macular degeneration. For this reason it is critical to have an eye test and macular check and adopt eye health diets and lifestyle practices,” Macular Disease Foundation Australia Patron Ita Buttrose said.
“Baby boomers have changed the definition of ageing. More than any generation before, they are working longer, travelling widely and have big plans for their future. They are the first generation who can expect to live a decade or two of a relatively healthy life after retirement,” she said.
“That’s why it is important that part of their plan for the future includes preventative steps to save their sight from macular degeneration.”
“Follow the Foundation’s eye health diet and lifestyle recommendations such as eating dark green leafy vegetables especially spinach, fresh fruit and fish. Exercise regularly and don’t smoke. These practices are not only good for your eyes, they’re also good for your bones, heart and brain.”
“I saw the impact vision loss had on my father’s life. He had macular degeneration and now my uncle, his youngest brother, does too.”
“Fortunately he is receiving effective sight saving treatment because his macular degeneration was detected early and he received timely treatment. At 92, he is still able to drive.”
Ms Buttrose said a direct family history of macular degeneration means a 50 per cent chance of developing the disease.
“So if, like me, you have a direct family member with the disease, be vigilant with your eye health,” Ms Buttrose said.
Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy is joining Ms Buttrose in support of Macular Degeneration Awareness Week this week.
“With a growing and ageing population, eye health needs to be a priority for all Victorians, particularly those aged over 50,” Ms Hennessy said.
“I urge all baby boomers to make the time to have an eye test and macular check; it’s simple and it could save your sight,” she said.
MDFA chief executive officer Julie Heraghty said: “A person can have the early signs of macular degeneration without even knowing. That’s why an eye test is essential.”
“In between appointments use a simple tool, the Amsler grid, to monitor changes in your vision,” she said
“And never dismiss any changes in vision as just getting older. Act quickly, because early detection can save your sight.”
For a free macular degeneration information kit and Amsler grid contact the  Macular Disease Foundation Australia on 1800 111 709 or visit www.mdfoundation.com.au.