National Eye Health Week - "The earlier you pick it up, the better chance you’ve got of saving your eyesight."

Posted: Wednesday 25 September 2019

Josephine hadn’t noticed any changes to her vision when she was diagnosed with macular disease, only what she believed to be normal signs of ageing.

She hadn’t been for an eye test for a number of years and decided she should go along to her local opticians.

“I should’ve gone more regularly, probably, but it was certainly the last thing on my mind,” she said.

It was then, at the age of 65, she found out she had age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common type of macular disease.

“I’d never even heard of macular degeneration. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know about it, they’ve never even heard about it. I’d never heard about it, until it happened to me. I didn’t realise what it was until I went home and went on the internet. Then it said, 'This is the leading cause of blindness,' at which point I thought, “Oh my god,” and I started crying. I was really upset. There was nothing I could do.”

Now she knows more about her diagnosis Josephine wishes she had taken her eye health more seriously and in National Eye Health Week she is keen to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests.

She said: “I think it’s really important to get the message across to people how important it is to take an eye test, and how they could pick up macular disease, because a lot of people don't know about it until it happens to them.”

She added: “I was the last person that I would’ve expected that to happen to, because I used to have 20/20 vision. I never even thought about it. But it did happen to me.

“I don’t think it could be prevented, but it could be picked up quite early, and the earlier you pick it up, the better chance you’ve got of saving your eyesight.

“If I’d have known I would’ve got my eyes tested more regularly. I would’ve found out more about it than I did. If you know what you’re talking about, and the questions to ask them, it helps a lot. You get more knowledge and knowledge is power isn’t it.”

For more information about eye tests, call the Advice and Information Service on 0300 3030 111 or email