‘Eye health needs to be prioritised’

EXAMINATION: Dr Smita Agarwal urges Illawarra residents to get their eyes checked to prevent diseases such as glaucoma. PICTURE: Nicole Johnstone.
Nanjing Night Net

Macular degenerationamong Illawarra residents is one of the biggest issues faced by Wollongong eye specialists, a local ophthalmologisthas revealed.

Wollongong Eye Specialist ophthalmologistDr Smita Agarwalsaid incidents of eye disease are high, particularly amongelderly residents.

Dr Agarwal said people aged 40 and over are encouraged to get their eyes checked regularly.

“I would encourage everyone to get their eyes checkedregularly,especially after 40 years of age,on atwo-yearly basis,” she said.

“People with a family history of macular degeneration, diabetes and glaucoma should get their eyes tested really early on. If they have any symptomsblurred vision, distortion, floaters orflashes they should get their eyes tested urgently.”

With75 per centof vision loss beingpreventable or treatable if detected early enough, Dr Agarwal is a supporter of the JulEYE campaign that aims to raise awareness about eye disease within the Illawarra.

“The Eye Surgeons Foundation organise the campaign,which was established in 2002,” Dr Agarwal said.

“It dedicates one month every year to raise awareness for eye health within the community to help find causes of diseases that are impactingAustralia and causing blindness and low vision.”

Having started her career in India, Dr Agarwal said Australia largely suffers from age-related diseases and urges residents to get their eyes checked regularly.

“India is a third-world country and we don’t see certain diseases over there as often,” she said.

“People don’t livethat long [to get] diseasessuch as macular degeneration.In India, we see moreinfections because of poorerhygiene, which causes a lot of blindness.

“I think because [the Illawarra]isan elderly population, we see a lot of aging diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.”

JulEYE will continue to mid-August, and is askingAustralians to donate $1 for every year they have enjoyed good sight to fund vital research into eye disease to find cures. To donate or for more informationvisit梧桐夜网JulEYE南京夜网419论坛.

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