Listen in as Julie Heraghty, CEO of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia chats with Dr John Darcy on The Morning Show during Macular Degeneration Awareness Week.

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the name given to a group of chronic, degenerative retinal eye diseases that cause progressive loss of central vision, leaving the peripheral or side vision intact.

It affects the ability to read, drive, recognise faces and perform activities that require detailed vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness and severe vision loss in Australia, responsible for 50% of all cases of blindness. Almost 15% of Australians over 80 years (around 160,000 people) have vision loss or blindness from age-related macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration most frequently affects people over the age of 50 but it is not a normal or inevitable consequence of ageing.

Early detection is critical in the treatment of this disease. Any sudden changes to vision should be treated as a medical emergency. See an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.

For more information go to the Macular Disease Foundation Australia website.