Australian of the Year and ophthalmologist Dr James Muecke has endorsed a new campaign aimed at motivating Australians in their 50s to have a macula check after it was revealed most in this age group are unable to identify macular disease risk factors.
The Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA)’s Check My Macula initiative includes an online risk assessment quiz for Australians over 50, which also allows people to book directly with an optometrist or schedule a reminder for an eye exam.
The MDFA is directing its efforts towards this age group, after a recent survey found one in seven Australians over the age of 50 has the early signs of AMD but may not know it until it’s too late.
Caption: For the initiative, MDFA has produced this quirky television campaign voiced by Jean Kittson and Shane Jacobson.
The organisation’s CEO Ms Dee Hopkins said the statistics also showed more than 80% of people in their 50s know they should have an eye exam every two years but almost 40% gamble with their sight by skipping it. Additionally, only one in 10 Australians in their 50s can properly identify the major risk factors for AMD, being age, family history, smoking and lack of regular eye exams.
The Check My Macula campaign involves a one-minute, five-question quiz consisting to help Australia’s over-50s quickly and easily identify their risk factors for macular disease.
“Check My Macula makes personalised risk information about Australia’s leading causes of vision loss quick and easy to access,” Hopkins said.
Muecke has thrown his weight behind the campaign too. As an ophthalmologist, he has been fighting blindness for 30 years and has become concerned about the number of patients he’s treating for macular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease.
Caption: Dr James Muecke’s video endorsement of the Check My Macula Campaign.
“That’s why I’m asking every Australian aged 50-plus to visit www.CheckMyMacula.com.au,” Meucke said.
“Check My Macula is an online quiz that helps over-50s quickly and easily identify their risk factors for macular disease and diabetic eye disease and book an eye exam with your nearest optometrist.”
With a shared goal of preventing macular disease, MDFA has prepared a digital toolkit that contains material eye health professionals can share with their patients in support of the campaign.
Channel 7 Sunrise Showbiz Editor Mr Nelson Aspen, 57, and Australian radio presenter Mr Brendan Jones, 52, are ambassadors for the initiative, along with award-winning journalist Ms Melissa Doyle and rugby league commentator Mr Andrew Voss.
It will also be supported by a television campaign voiced by MDFA ambassador Ms Jean Kittson and fellow Australian entertainer Mr Shane Jacobson.