Fighting Blindness is delighted to be involved once again with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Week, which takes place from September 19 to 25. Now in its ninth year, the campaign aims to raise awareness about AMD and encourage everyone over 50 to get their eyes tested.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in Ireland – almost 100,000 people throughout the country have AMD, with 7,000 new cases diagnosed each year in people over 50. The main symptoms to be aware of are blurred vision, wavy lines or a blind spot in the centre of the field of vision. As the symptoms of AMD can initially go unrecognised, it is crucial that people over 50 get their eyes tested regularly so that any signs of AMD can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. This is particularly significant if there is a family history of eye disease or if you notice any change in your vision. It is also important to remember that positive lifestyle changes can have a big impact and help to slow the progression or onset of AMD, like giving up smoking, eating a healthy diet rich in leafy greens and exercising regularly.
On Wednesday, August 31, AMD Ambassador Mary Kennedy (pictured above) officially launched the ‘Never Miss the Wonder’ campaign to emphasise the importance of regular eye tests and raise awareness about AMD. Part of this campaign is a photograph competition, which aims to highlight the wonders in everyday life, and encourage discussion on the potential impact of AMD on quality of life.
Special moments in life can often be taken for granted – from things as simple as watching grandchildren play, to seeing extraordinary sights such as iconic wonders of the world. Everyone is invited to submit photos of their personally chosen ‘wonder’ and be in with a chance to win a €300 voucher, with two runner-up prizes of €100 each. A selection of winning entries will be created into a specially-designed photobook and displayed at an event to kick off AMD Awareness Week on September 19. Photos, along with a caption explaining the image should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 9.
AMD Awareness Week is a nationwide health initiative supported by Fighting Blindness, NCBI, the Irish College of Ophthalmologists, the Association of Optometrists Ireland, and Novartis Ireland.
A dedicated mobile testing unit will travel to Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford during AMD Week offering free AMD eye tests and information to the public. Free AMD testing will also be available in participating optometrists nationwide. A full list of the free eye testing locations can be found at www.AMD.ie