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Optometrists are encouraged to become involved in Macular Degeneration Awareness Week on 25–31 May.

‘Don’t be in the dark about macular degeneration’ is the theme adopted this year by Macular Disease Foundation Australia to communicate the week’s key message to those at risk: have your eyes examined and macula checked.

The foundation has posted awareness kits to optometrists nationally. The kits include a poster, an Amsler grid, information on macular degeneration and a resource order form with a free postage period. Additional copies of the foundation’s Amsler grid can be ordered, with a view to meeting the foundation’s long-term aim of providing an Amsler grid to every Australian over 50, for use between visits to their optometrist or ophthalmologist.   

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There is a media release template so optometrists can insert their details and send the release to local newspapers and radio stations to raise awareness in their communities.

During the awareness week, optometrists are encouraged to talk to patients about the importance of regular eye checks and use of the Amsler grid between visits, refer patients to the foundation for ongoing support, develop a promotional display in their practice, and generate awareness in their local media, on their website, and through Facebook and twitter by using the #dontbeinthedark.

The key messages for those aged over 50 years are to have their eyes examined and make sure the macula is checked, never ignore any changes in vision, eat an ‘eye friendly’ diet, maintain a healthy lifestyle and be aware of the role of supplementation.

Optometrists Association is a long-standing supporter of Macular Disease Foundation Australia and the awareness week. The week is supported by Blackmores, Novartis and Optometrists Association.

The foundation will also deliver a national television and radio campaign with new advertisements promoting the key message of ‘Have your eyes tested and macula checked’. This campaign runs throughout May and is supported by Bayer.

For more information on macular degeneration or how optometrists can promote Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, call the foundation on 1800 111 709.

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