The CEO of the National Ploughing Association, Anna May McHugh, has today made an impassioned plea for people to take their eye care health seriously.
The power house behind the long running rural event, joined with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland in calling for people to prioritise regular sight tests, with an emphasis on Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) ,which is the largest cause of sight loss in the over 50’s.
Anna May participated in an AMD test with Consultant Ophthalmologist, Mr. David Keegan.
“It is so important that people take care of their sight. I take my sight seriously and if that means going for a simple test, I am happy to do that. It is a painless and easy test and only takes a few minutes. The NCBI is always urging people to go for regular sight tests and I agree as it staves off trouble down the road. Early detection is so important. I am delighted to participate in this AMD test”.
David Keegan, Consultant Ophthalmologist explains that the condition can affect anybody but particularly the over 55’s. “It is a condition which affects the back of the eye and is characterised by some specific changes. There is a genetic component but it is not simple genetics. It is a complex genetic disease in that there are multiple genetic alternations that all lead to increased risk in the individual”. He adds “While we don’t know how to prevent AMD we do know what we can do to reduce the risk of somebody getting it. Apart from any inherited pre disposition, the biggest single risk factor is smoking. High blood pressure is also a risk factor. So basically no smoking, check your blood pressure and eat a diet rich in carotenoids and please get your eyes tested regularly”.
Dr Keegan stresses that people in the ‘at risk’ age bracket should not put failing sight down to old age. “Old age in of itself does not cause vision loss; it can be associated with it but does not cause it. So if you are experiencing problems with your vision go and see an eye specialist and let him or her take it from there”.
Anna May says “I urge people to have the AMD tests done, please don’t shy away from it. I am so glad to have had the test done. The NCBI is a hive of information and support so if you have any problems with your vision or any questions do drop into the NCBI stand at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore”.