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Emily Ireland

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in New Zealand.

It affects the central vision, impacting on the ability to drive, read, watch television, undertake hobbies, and recognise faces.

But, gone are the days when patients were told, “there is nothing more we can offer you” with almost certainty that vision loss would result.

Lynn Lamb QSM, of Masterton, has macular degeneration – but with almost monthly eye injections, she is retaining her vision.

“When I first realised there was something wrong, I went to Specsavers and they picked up that there was a bleed behind one eye.

“They referred me to the hospital – to the specialist there.”

“It was 2014 and that’s when the injections started up for me.

“A lot of people throw up their hands in horror when I tell them about the injection.

“But it doesn’t hurt – you just feel a wee bit of pressure and then it is all over and done with.”

When Lynn asked what the cause of her vision troubles was, she was told it was simply down to old age.

Her wish was that more people knew how to intervene early with vision loss due to macular degeneration.

And that wish is about to come true, with a free seminar set to take place on Saturday, November 10, at Copthorne in Masterton.

At the Masterton seminar, ophthalmologist Dr Keith Maslin will talk about the impact of macular degeneration, medical research, latest treatments and the resources available.

According to Macular Degeneration New Zealand, which is hosting the seminar, loss of vision impacts on lifestyle and independent ageing associated with the risks of: falls and fracturing hips; developing depression; inability to access health services and earlier admission to nursing homes.

Soon, New Zealand will witness the most significant demographic change of the 21st century.

By 2030, one in four people will be over 65 years of age.

This group will also be living for longer than previous generations and 41 per cent of them do not know about macular degeneration.

“To halt a potential epidemic of blindness, we need to be proactive to save sight so that New Zealanders can live well in old age.”

Macular Degeneration NZ is a Charitable Trust with the vision to reduce the incidence and impact of MD in New Zealand, increase awareness and promote early detection to the 1.5 million ‘at risk’ New Zealanders.

To register to attend this free Seminar phone 0800 MACULA (622 852) or email info@mdnz.org.nz

The seminar will run from 10am until 11.30am on November 10 at Copthorne.