An estimated 1.9 million Australians show some degree of macular disease1. The macula is the point of central vision in the eye, and when disease causes the tissue to degenerate, it results in a painless loss of detailed central vision. This impacts many day-to-day activities such as reading, driving, and watching television, which can significantly affect quality of life. While the most common macular disease is age-related macular degeneration, it is important for all Australians to look after their macular health to try and prevent the disease in later life.

This Macula Month, OPSM shares their tips for a healthy macula and recommendations for how to manage diagnosed macular disease.


Maintain regular eye health checks

OPSM Optometrist, Kirby Phillips, says, “Booking an appointment with your optometrist on a regular basis means that signs of macular disease are less likely to go unnoticed.” Early detection of macular disease is vital in treatment, and increase the chances that vision can be preserved in the future. 

How to know if you should see your optometrist sooner than your regular appointment:

  • Have you noticed difficulty with fine, detailed work?
  • Have you noticed it’s harder to see people’s faces?
  • Have you noticed straight lines appearing wavy or bent?
  • Have you noticed areas in your vision that are missing or dark?

To make an appointment or locate your nearest optometrist.


What can you control?

Factors such as diet and lifestyle make an impact on the risk of macular disease. Here are 3 things you should do to control your risk of macular disease:

DO Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach. Research shows that these foods are rich in antioxidants, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial to macula health2.

DO Understand your family history. If you have a family member with macular disease, you are four times more likely to develop the condition yourself3.

DO Avoid smoking or try to cease smoking wherever possible. Smoking damages the cells at the macula and increases risk of macular disease by 3-4 times4.                      


Diagnosed with macular disease? 

If you have been diagnosed with macular disease, be sure to connect your optometrist, your GP and other health professionals so they can collaborate in your care. Advise your family members so that they understand their increased risk. Be mindful of your physical and mental wellbeing and ask for help if you are experiencing challenging emotions.


1What is macular disease? Macular Disease Foundation (2019).

2Food and eye health. Macular Disease Foundation (2021).

3Do you have a family history of vision loss? Vision Institute (2018).

4Smoking and age-related macular degeneration: review and update. J. Ophthalmol, 895147 (2013).


Special Offer for Territory Health Fund Members

For a limited time Territory Health members can visit any OPSM store before 21 May and receive $100 off lenses and selected frames (when purchased as a complete pair). T&C’s apply, see the OPSM website for details.