A retired nurse from Rothwell who has an eye disease is backing a county-wide drive to raise awareness of her condition – urging people to get checked “before it’s too late”.
The call from Anne Cash, who has the very early signs of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), is part of a campaign to encourage testing for the ailment, which is the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world.
It has been launched by Davis Optometrists, which has branches in Kettering, Rothwell and Thrapston and is also raising funds for the Macular Society as part of the awareness push.
The 77-year-old said: “People need to get regular sight checks to spot the signs early, before it’s too late and the disease sets in. Looking back I feel I could have protected my eyes better from the sunlight.
“I have been advised to eat a healthy diet, which I have always done, alongside supplements and to protect my eyes from the sun, wearing sunglasses even on days when it’s not sunny.”
Early signs of ARMD were spotted at the Rothwell branch of Davis Optometrists, in Bridge Street, where Mrs Cash has been a patient for more than 20 years. A follow up 3D scan at the Kettering branch established that it was the dry and not the advanced wet type and then the diagnosis was confirmed at Kettering General Hospital.
The Kettering branch, in Moyune House, Crispin Place, High Street, staged an awareness day earlier this month where they tested people for the condition and also raised money for the Macular Society. An open day also took place at the Thrapston branch, in the town’s High Street, on 28th May. They are continuing to collect funds.
Kim Durden, a partner optometrist at Davis Optometrists, said: “The message we want to get across is that it can be halted or even improved if caught early, through a healthy diet and supplements.”
In the UK over 500,000 people are affected, with about half visually impaired. Although it does not cause blindness, it can lead to severe restrictions.
Rachel Crawford-Jones, regional fundraiser for the Macular Society, said: “The macula is the most important part of the retina and without it people cannot read, drive or recognise faces. We are delighted to be teaming up with Davis to raise vital funds towards research into treatments and a cure for macular disease.”
To learn more about ARMD search for ‘Davis Opticians’ on Facebook. To donate to the charity visit Davis’ Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/davisopt.