Govt. of New Zealand Needs to Step up to the Plate to Fight AMD

( The Government of New Zealand needs to prioritize educating elderly residents about the risks of getting age-related macular degeneration (AMD), reported Showroom.

Philip Polkinghorne, a professor at the University of Auckland’s Department of Ophthalmology, was cited in the article as saying that the government’s top healthcare-related task needs to be helping elderly New Zealanders to avoid coming down with eye ailments that can lead to blindness.

Prof. Polkinghorne said in the article that the government is doing too little to address a situation where many elderly people in the country are coming down with blindness-causing AMD. According to the article, the eye condition takes place when the macula experiences progressive deterioration. While the ailment can lead to complete blindness, Prof. Polkinghorne added in the article that it is preventable if caught and treated speedily.

While AMD is four times as prevalent as is dementia, it is still not very well known among people in the country, said Prof. Polkinghorne, who noted that this fact highlights the importance of educating the public about eye health.

According to Prof. Polkinghorne, 48% of New Zealanders older than 50 who were blind had AMD in 2009. He added that 11% of these blind residents had cataracts and 16% had glaucoma. What this means he explained in the article, is that the government must spearhead a large public awareness effort to let people know about the extent of the problems associated with eye conditions.

He added that treating a vision loss patient who is older than 40 carries a complete economic cost of $22,217 per individual. He added that there is not only an economic cost, but also a social cost that needs to be factored into the equation.

According to Prof. Polkinghorne, those who develop AMD tend to resort to a retirement home setting a full 36 months before people who still has their sight intact. Furthermore, AMD sufferers might not be able to operate a motor vehicle, could be more prone to slip and fall accidents, and may feel depressed as a result of losing their independence.

According to Prof. Polkinghorne, New Zealanders should be educated about eye health issues from an early age. That way, people would understand what symptoms to lookout for and when to seek out medical attention.



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