MACULAR DEGENERATION: Look out for yourself

Elke Hutchins says a simple grid can be the difference between good eyesight and a loss of central vision. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

Elke Hutchins says a simple grid can be the difference between good eyesight and a loss of central vision. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

A SIMPLE square grid could be the secret to catching eye problems early.

As part of Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, optometrists this week urged people to open their eyes to an Amsler grid.

By staring at a dot in the middle of a grid, eye problems can be detected if the lines become wavy, broken or distorted.

Specsavers Lavington optometrist partner Elke Hutchins said macular degeneration could be prevented if caught early.

Macular degeneration causes loss or deterioration of the central vision you need to read, drive and recognise faces.

The disease affects mainly people over 50, smokers and people with poor diets.

“People should have Amsler grids on their fridge and test their eyes a couple of times a week,” she said.

“Drugs and medications can prevent macular degeneration.”

She said one in seven people over 50 showed macular changes.

“People should get checked, even if they have normal vision and healthy eyes,” she said.

“They should get them checked at least every two years.”

People can get a free Amsler grid at Specsavers, by calling the Foundation on 1800 111 709 or visiting mdfoundation.com.au

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