Shattky Optometrists

Visique Shattky Optometrists has been serving the people of Hawke's Bay with trusted expert eyecare and eyewear since 1906. We continue a proud history of family ownership with successive father & son teams Ernest & Derek Shattky, Neil & Phil Donaldson plus Mark & Tim Eagle. Using the very latest technologies and systems we specialise in Glaucoma tests, Retinal photography, Diabetic management, Therapeutic drugs, dietary supplements and Behavioural Optometry. We are ACC primary eyecare providers and CAA certificated examiners. Our speciality Orthokeratology and Keratoconus contact lens services are very successful. Using Zeiss, Nikon & Essilor quality lenses, High Fashion frames and sunglasses we excel in providing award winning choice. We provide Irlen and Cellfield specialist services for 3D, binocular problems, Amblyopia and reading problems.

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Home > Latest News

Be aware of Macular Degeneration

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Mark Eagle
27-May-2012
Eyecare, Sunglasses, The Shattkys Experience

Facts about the Macula

  • The macula is the central part of the retina at the back of the eye. (It is sometimes called the Fovea). It is an area of high metabolic activity where the body rapidly repairs the constant damage caused by the constant arrival of light focused to this point.
  • It's design is such that structural strength has been sacrificed to give us better acuity (sharpness of vision). It has a highly organised, delicate and beautiful structure.
  • A small loss at the macula has a large effect on your ability to read and recognise faces.
  • It is vulnerable to damage by
    • physical blows to the eyeball
    • all light energy (especially high intensity light)
    • high energy radiation (UV)
    • Diabetes
    • poor nutrition
    • aging

Facts about Macular Degeneration

  • Also known as Age-Related Macular Degeneration      - AMD or ARMD
  • Macular Degeneration is an aging condition in which the macula suffers damage that the body fails to repair.
  • It is common, and as our population ages you will hear more about it. Approximately 125,000 Kiwis over 40 have this visual impairment and 12,000 are described as "Legally Blind" due to Macular Degeneration.
  • In 2009, 48% of blind New Zealanders over the age of 50 were blind due to Macular Degeneration, in comparison to 11% blind from Cataracts and 16% blind from Glaucoma.
  • Macular Degeneration is four times as common as Dementia and half as common as Diabetes.
  • Smokers are 3 times more likely to get Macular Degeneration
  • There is a strong genetic aspect to this condition, if there is a member in your immediate family with it then there is a 50/50 chance you will too
  • There are two main forms of Macular Degeneration Wet vs Dry
  • Some of the symptoms of Macular Degeneration:
          - more difficulty seeing to read (even with reading glasses on)
          - the straight lines on door frames or lamp-posts appear distorted, crooked or gappy
          - a gap or hole in the middle of your vision.

 

 

What should you do to manage the risk of Macular Degeneration?

  • You should learn all that you can about your family's history of having this problem with their sight.
  • From the age of 50, you should have 2-yearly eye examinations to check for this.
  • You should wear sunhat and sunglasses when in the sun.
  • Stop smoking if you are.
  • You should eat well, plenty of brightly pigmented foods, and plenty of Vitamin C, and plenty of Omega3.
  • If you already have the early signs of Macular Degeneration we can prescribe the right Dietary Supplements, specifically formulated to slow the rate of progression
  • If the early signs are present, then we will supply you with a test-card so that you can monitor for change.
  • more information available at www.seeourvision.org.nz

 

Here is Tim Eagle hard at work - the search for Macular Degeneration is always in our minds.

More New Zealanders are to go Blind . . . . . . .

A University of Auckland academic is calling for the Government to make preventing vision loss for ageing New Zealanders top of the national health agenda.

Associate Professor Philip Polkinghorne, from the University of Auckland's Department of Ophthalmology, says one of the biggest issues facing ageing Kiwis is a blinding condition called macular degeneration and the Government isn't doing enough to address it.

The condition occurs when the macula or central part of the retina degenerates due to ageing and can result in total blindness - but if caught in time is preventable says Polkinghorne.

Macular degeneration is four times as common as dementia and half as common as diabetes, yet it is not well-known, he says.

Polkinghorne says the Government needs to warn Kiwis they are at risk.

"What we really need is a big public awareness push, like we had with cataracts and glaucoma - and I believe this is where the Government has to step in and come to the party. We need to make this a public health issue, because the cost of not doing that is too high."

Polkinghorne says the total economic cost of treating a person over 40 with vision loss is $22,217 per person. There is also a social cost, he says.

"People with macular degeneration normally end up in a rest-home about three years before a normally sighted person. They might also be unable to drive, are more likely to fall and injure themselves, and may get depressed because they can't manage on their own, he says.

Education should start from a young age, says Polkinghorne, so people know what symptoms to watch out for as they age and can keep an eye on at-risk relatives.

"The Government should put preventing blindness on the national health targets. At the age of 50, you've got a one in seven chance of showing early signs of macular degeneration, and in another eight years that rises to one in three," says Polkinghorne.

"Ten percent of Aucklanders are over the age of 65. We have statistics from 2009 that says macular degeneration accounts for 48% of blindness in Kiwis over 50. That's nearly half! Now compare that with cataracts, which only accounts for 11% and glaucoma at 16% and you can see how even the numbers stack up.

"Basic eye care is a human right, and that should be the Government's responsibility. By all means, trial it and measure the outcomes, but if people have a health problem with their eyes, they should be able to go to a public hospital and get it treated, he says.

Polkinghorne says macular degeneration is easily detected through a simple retinal screen by a qualified ophthalmologist or optometrist.

"The point is that it's very easy to test for this condition and a lot of it is preventable. Macular degeneration can be treated in a variety of ways: lifestyle changes like weight control, cessation of smoking, controlling hypertension, diet supplements and with medications, such as anti-endothelial vascular growth injections. But it needs to be caught in time, as any resulting vision loss is irreversible," he says.

Polkinghorne says Kiwis simply cannot afford to neglect their eye health as they age.

"Blindness and visual impairment can have severe consequences on all aspects of our lives: work, socialising, even the simple act of getting in your car and driving down to the shops," he says.

He advises those over 50, to have their eyes checked regularly, and ask to be screened for macular degeneration.

Here is a Macular degeneration Self-Test you can try at home.

Cover one eye and sit about 40cms from the screen.

Look only at the central dot, and let yourself be aware of any irregularities in the grid, for example crookedness or wavyness in the lines, gaps in the grid, a fainter appearance or even a darkness to the centre of the Grid.

Now swop over to using the other eye. by making comparisons between the two  eyes you can get a better idea of what's going on for you.

When in doubt, book to see us..... Click here

 

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