May is Macula Month

Macula Month in May is the time of year when the Macular Disease Foundation, Quantum RLV and the community come together to raise awareness of macular disease, to reduce its incidence and impact.

An estimated 1.7 million Australians have some form of macular disease.
The macula is responsible for detailed central vision. That means you use it for activities such as reading, driving and recognising faces. It’s also responsible for most of your colour vision.

The rest of the retina is called the peripheral retina. Peripheral vision (or side vision) isn’t as clear as central vision. It’s used to see general shapes and surroundings. It is possible to have early signs of macular disease without knowing it.

Opera house with wavy lines

However, when symptoms do appear, they can include:
• difficulty with reading or any other activity which requires detailed central vision (despite wearing appropriate glasses)
• distortion, where straight lines may appear wavy or bent
• problems distinguishing faces
• dark patches in the central vision.
The most common macular disease is age-related macular degeneration.

Black spot in the middle of a photo of 2 children

Approximately one in seven Australians over the age of 50 have some evidence of AMD. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and is the leading cause of preventable blindness in working-aged Australians. Other common macular diseases include retinal vein occlusion, Stargardts disease and Best disease.

This year is significant as The Macular Disease Foundation Australia celebrates its 15 year anniversary of injections (anti-VEGF). The rejection of the proposed Medicare rebate cut by major political parties is good news and a win for the macular disease community.