It’s Macular Degeneration Awareness Week 2017
This week was Macular Degeneration Awareness Week. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness in Australia with 1 in 7 people over the age of 50 presenting with evidence of the condition.
Apunipima Cape York Health Council operates an Eye Health Program. Cape York Communities are visited three times a year by Apunipima staff consisting of Aboriginal Eye Health Coordinators, Aboriginal Health Workers, and Optometrists. An Ophthalmologist visits with the team once a year to perform treatments that can be conducted at the local Community Health Centre. A portable Diabetic Retinopathy Laser is also used for treating people with diabetes related eye problems at the community.
Noel Rofe has been an Eye Health Coordinator for the Cape York Eye Program for fourteen years, the last two of which have been with Apunipima, he said “It’s a rewarding role being an Eye Health Coordinator for Cape York Communities. Sight is so important and it is great to be able to help people improve theirs, also connecting them with other services for the sake of their overall health which all works toward closing the gap for Indigenous people in the Cape.”
Family history and age contributes to the onset of macular degeneration, as does smoking and diabetes which are two major health concerns for Communities in Cape York. Apunipima works closely with Cape York communities to support people to make healthy lifestyle choices, including quitting smoking, managing diabetes and choosing a healthy diet, all of which can help to reduce the severity of macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is not curable, though an eye test can catch it early and enable management from the onset.
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