Bupa says improved diets and checks critical to eye health

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Bupa is encouraging people during Macula Month to improve their diet to reduce the rate of macular disease that is currently the leading cause of blindness in Australia.

It said approximately 1.7 million Australians exhibit some evidence of macular disease such as blurred vision or sensitivity to light, with the majority of those people aged over 50.

Two of the most common macular diseases are age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease that can be attributed to lifestyle elements such as diet.

Bupa Optical optometrist Karen Makin said prevention and early detection is the key to protecting your sight and avoiding macular disease.

"One the simplest things you can do to help prevent macular disease and maximise the health of your eyes is eating well.

"Things like green leafy vegetables, fish, fresh fruit and foods high in antioxidants can all help in keeping your macula healthy… it’s not just carrots as the old myths would have you believe!" she said.

Ms Makin said she also recommends having regular eye tests, at least every two years but more often if a person's family has a history of eye disease, they are diabetic, or over 65.

“Regular eye tests aren’t just for updating your glasses prescription, they can also act as the first step in identifying and hopefully getting on top of eye and general health issues before they spiral out of control,” added Mr Makin.