Warkworth resident John Patrick, 86, has a message for those whose eyesight appears to be deteriorating.
He says it’s critical to get the condition checked out and not simply dismiss the problem as part of the ageing process.
His comments come ahead of a free seminar on macular degeneration (MD), at Orewa Baptist Church on Saturday, June 29, at 10am.
The seminar is hosted by Macular Degeneration New Zealand and the organisation hopes many from around Mahurangi will make the trip down to attend.
About eight years ago, John noticed his eyesight was getting worse and he switched to using talking books.
He says he continued to drive, but feels he probably shouldn’t have.
Fortunately, John took the trouble to consult an ophthalmologist who diagnosed MD and said he needed an injection in his eye immediately.
John is convinced that quick intervention saved his sight. If remedial action had been delayed much longer, he would have gone blind.
Since his diagnosis, John has had regular Avastin injections, first every month and now every eight weeks. He continues to read and drive.
“We have a magnificent public health system with empathetic, professional and competent people working in it. If miracle is an appropriate word, then Avastin is a miracle. Please check your vision and be unafraid,” he says.
Macular Degeneration NZ says MD is the leading cause of blindness in New Zealand. One in seven people over 50 will exhibit some evidence of MD. Loss of vision leads to falls, fractured hips, depression and early admission to nursing homes.
At the Orewa seminar, Dr David Squirrell will share the latest information on treatments and management of the disease.
Macular Degeneration New Zealand is a charitable trust dedicated to reducing the incidence and impact of MD in New Zealand. To register to attend the seminar phone 0800 MACULA or email email@example.com