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WaiBOP United is pleased to announce that Macular Degeneration New Zealand (MDNZ) is the charity the franchise will support for the 2015/16 ASB Premiership season.

Macular Degeneration causes progressive loss of central vision but the peripheral vision is not affected. It is the leading cause of severe vision loss. One in seven people over the age of 50 years is affected in some way and the incidence increases with age. The macula is the central part of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The retina processes all visual images. It is responsible for your ability to read, recognise faces, drive and see colours clearly.

WaiBOP United will promote awareness of Macular Degeneration within the football community. “We hope that off the back of whatever profile our club is able to build we can help raise awareness of what Macular Degeneration is and how people can get tested,” says Dwayne Barlow, WaiBOP United’s Communications Manager. “This is something that has the potential to cause functional blindness and yet is easily treated if detected early enough.”

Macular Degeneration is thought to be caused by genetic and environmental factors. People over the age of 50 years are at risk. If you smoke or have a family history of Macular Degeneration, your risk of developing the disease is much greater.

Key symptoms may include one or more of the following:
• Difficulty with reading or any other activity that requires fine vision.
• Distortion, where straight lines appear wavy or bent.
• Distinguishing faces becomes a problem.
• Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the centre of your vision.

If you experience any of these symptoms contact your eye care specialist immediately.

Macular Degeneration Eye health checklist:
• Have your eyes tested and make sure the macula is checked.
• Don’t smoke.
• Keep a healthy lifestyle, control your weight and exercise regularly.
• Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Limit your intake of fats, eat fish two or three times a week, eat dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit daily and a handful of nuts a week.
• In consultation with your doctor, consider taking a zinc and antioxidant supplement.
• Provide adequate protection for your eyes from sunlight exposure, especially when young.

For more on Macular Degeneration we encourage everyone to visit www.mdnz.org.nz

Quick test

Amsler Grid: The Amsler grid (pictured) is a useful tool to detect vision problems resulting from damage to the macula (the central part of the retina). Report any irregularity to your eye doctor immediately.

The grid does not replace having your macula tested by an eye care professional, particularly if you are over 50 years old or have any risk factors for macular degeneration.

How to do it:  1. Cover one eye, then focus on the dot in the centre. 2. Do any of the lines look wavy, blurred or distorted? 3. Are there any missing areas or dark areas in the grid? 4. Don’t forget to test both eyes. 5. If you see wavy, broken or distorted lines, or blurred or missing areas of vision, you may be displaying the symptoms of Macular Degeneration. Contact your doctor or optometrist immediately.