dsc_0164Local residents will be urged to protect themselves against the nation’s leading cause of blindness, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), when a Vision Van rolls into Lismore on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th May as part of the second leg of an Australian-first AMD awareness and screening tour.

The Vision Van will screen people most at risk of AMD – men and women aged 50 and over.

AMD is a major health problem facing our ageing population, yet 36 per cent of the country are unaware about AMD and its effects.

To help combat this, qualified optometrist Li Chen and her partner Paul have again taken on the personal challenge of driving the Vision Van along Australia’s eastern seaboard to provide free AMD screening.

Macula checks in the Vision Van will be performed in just 15 minutes, using state-of-the-art facilities and approved screening methods based on a protocol developed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and Optometrists Association Australia (OAA)

Dr Paul Beaumont, founding director of the Macular Degeneration Foundation, says that because more than one in three Aussies think blindness is simply part of getting older, AMD is not being detected early enough.

“Too many older Australians think loss of sight is a part of getting older. It is not!” he said.

“Loss of sight in an elderly person is not normal. It could even be wet Age-related Macular Degeneration, for which early detection and treatment is essential to prevent blindness.

“All Australians over the age of 50 should check to see if they have signs of macular degeneration. If signs exist, they should take the necessary lifestyle and dietary steps to slow the disease down.”

Bookings are essential. Local residents aged 50 and over can call 1800 176 255 to make a booking for a free AMD screening at the Lismore Workers Club between 9.30am- 4pm on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th May.

Those who are unable to be screened in the Vision Van are strongly encouraged to see their local optometrist to have their eyes tested and macula checked.