Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 5 Hansard (13 May) . . Page.. 1414..
Finally, I commend all the staff who work in the community legal sector—the lawyers and law students who work pro bono for the centres and the members of the public who give up their time to serve on the boards overseeing community legal centres.
Macular Degeneration Awareness Week
Canberra Seniors Centre—autumn fete
MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (4.36): I would like to draw the attention of the Assembly to two matters of relevance to me in my role as shadow minister for ageing. All offices last week hopefully received some information about the upcoming Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, which is being held across Australia from 25 May to 31 May. Its slogan, "Don't be in the dark about macular degeneration", is a succinct and apt descriptor of this chronic disease that affects central vision.
Risk factors are age, smoking and family history. This risk increases dramatically after age 50, and also increases dramatically for smokers, who have a three to four times greater risk of acquiring this affliction. If you have a family history of it, there is a 50 per cent chance of developing macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration—MD for short—in fact is the leading cause of blindness and major vision loss in Australia. There are two types, which essentially means you have a slow loss of vision or a sudden loss of vision, but both really affect quality of life in later years.
Early detection is crucial to save sight. Appropriate protection for your eyes in bright sunlight, even as a youngster, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to prevent or contain its impact and severity.
MD affects one in seven or 1.5 million Australians over the age of 50, and this rate will rise to 1.7 million people by 2030 in the absence of prevention and treatment measures. In Canberra we are talking about an estimated 14,400 people. In my own electorate of Molonglo, according to the foundation, in 2012 there was an estimated prevalence of MD in 7,050 people, and this number will rise to an estimated 12,000 by the year 2030 if preventive measures are not taken.
The very extensive and informative material provided shows the great work that Macular Disease Foundation Australia is doing to raise awareness. It includes information on nutrition and diet, a cookbook and a DVD that is available on eating for eye health, and a quick self-test to see if you might have symptoms of MD.
I support the foundation's calls for people over 50 to be tested annually. It is a quick, painless and affordable test and can be free for those in private health schemes. It proposes an omega 3 and a lutein-enriched diet and overall sensible eating habits. I applaud the foundation for highlighting this and for the quality and range of material on offer to help promote a wide understanding and awareness of this chronic disease.
The second item on ageing that I wish to note was the wonderful fete I attended last Saturday, 10 May. It was the Canberra Seniors Centre autumn fete held at their Turner
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