Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     
News

Australian’s lack awareness of AMD’s hereditary links

06/05/2019By Myles Hume
Share:
Alarming new statistics from two Macula Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA)-commissioned surveys have found the majority of Australians are unaware of the familial risk associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The problem is not only limited to the general public. According to the findings, 50% of diagnosed AMD patients are not familiar with the disease’s hereditary links; many of whom “dramatically underestimate” the risk.

Amidst its Macula Month awareness campaign, the MDFA on Sunday released results from two YouGov Galaxy surveys it commissioned in order to highlight AMD awareness amongst both the general population and Australia’s AMD patients.

In findings MDFA CEO Ms Dee Hopkins labelled “alarming”, the data provides a starting point for the organisation to intensify its work ensuring families are discussing eye health, and assisting health professionals to better communicate AMD’s risk factors.

Dee Hopkins, MDFA
Dee Hopkins, MDFA
“We speak with many members of the macular disease community and one word that keeps cropping up is ‘stoic’. Many people living with macular disease are of that generation where they want to ‘manage’ and not place too much of a burden on their loved ones,”
Dee Hopkins, MDFA

The surveys’ most notable findings showed 63% of the general population, as well as only half of those living with AMD, were aware that having a sibling or parent with AMD meant they too had a 50% chance of developing the disease.

Additionally, only 33% of those with AMD recalled being informed about the potential familial risk by their eye health professional.

“So, the short answer is yes, we could all do more to inform the public about family history being a risk for AMD,” Hopkins said.

“We also have to remember that when someone is first diagnosed with AMD, there’s a lot of information to absorb, so it may be that the message just isn’t getting through. We need to keep reminding people about the family history risk and urging them to start a conversation with their direct family members.”

Interestingly, of those AMD patients who were aware of the hereditary risk, only one third took steps to inform their direct relatives about their potential risk.

“We speak with many members of the macular disease community and one word that keeps cropping up is ‘stoic’. Many people living with macular disease are of that generation where they want to ‘manage’ and not place too much of a burden on their loved ones. Perhaps they’re not wanting to burden their children and siblings by talking about the risks associated with AMD?” Hopkins said.

large leaderboard
advertisement

“We need to change that paradigm. Knowing your risks empowers you to act.”

Hopkins said while the information about family history has always been included in MDFA’s information material, the organisation will increase efforts to raise awareness, particularly to those who might not be aware of their risk.

“This Macula Month we have also targeted all eye health professionals. We have supplied free digital toolkits and other information resources to optometrists, ophthalmologists and orthoptists. But obviously general practitioners and pharmacists also have a role to play and we’re encouraging them also to spread the word.”

Macula Month will run for the entire month of May.

 

Campaign Preview





More reading:

MDFA to distribute toolkits ahead of Macula Month
$3 million government commitment to macular disease as action plan unveiled

 

 

large leaderboard
advertisement





rectangle
advertisement
Editor's Suggestion
Hot Stories

rectangle
advertisement


OR
 

Subscribe for Insight in your Inbox

Get Insight with the latest in industry news, trends, new products, services and equipment!