The Dubbo community is encouraged to learn their family history around eye health for Macula Month.
Dubbo optometrist Yvonne O'Sullivan wants to place a spotlight on the leading cause of legal blindness in Australia after 85 patients showed potential signs of retinal conditions in the past six months.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is responsible for 50 per cent of all cases of blindness and severe vision loss. It causes central vision to gradually become distorted and then lost.
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Having a parent or sibling with AMD increases someone's chances of having it by 50 per cent. However, at least 12,500 people in Dubbo over 35-years-old don't know their family medical history when it comes to eye health.
"The irreversible effects of AMD can be slowed down if detected early by an optometrist and lifestyle risk factors are addressed. That's why it's important to get your eyes tested by an optometrist at least once every two years from the age of 40," Dr O'Sullivan said.
Macular Disease Foundation Australia CEO Dee Hopkins said everyone should start an eye health discussion next time their family gathers together.
"It could be a conversation that has a life changing impact on your loved ones," Ms Hopkins said.
Macular Month aims to raise awareness of eye health during all of May.