Eye Health

16 September 2010

World Retina Week

20 September 2010 signifies the start of World Retina Week and this year Retina South Africa is urging people to save their sight and get their eyes tested.

20 September 2010 signifies the start of World Retina Week and this year Retina South Africa is urging people to save their sight and get their eyes tested. According to the World Health Organisation, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the third largest cause of vision loss worldwide and the single largest cause of vision loss in the industrialised world.

Wet AMD is a degenerative eye disease. If left untreated, eyesight will worsen or be lost permanently. The disease is debilitating, leaving those who suffer from it helpless and dependent on family members or caregivers for even basic assistance. Imagine not being able to see your grandchild when holding them, and being forced to only view the world from your periphery.

  • Create a System: Make sure all of your utensils, spices, and ingredients have their own place in the kitchen. Then make it a habit to put things away as soon as you are finished using them so they are easily found the next time. (You may need to ask family members to adopt your “system” so they don't put things back in the wrong place!)
  • Keep Cabinets Fully Closed or Fully Open: You can also try using contrasting tape (try white or black tape depending on the color of your cabinets) on the insides or backs of cabinet doors to make it easier to tell if one is open. Or install contrasting cabinet knobs or handles.
  • Perfect the Art of Touch: Tactile markings can help you tell the difference between similar types of containers. For example, wrap a rubber band around the juice container to tell it apart from the milk.
  • Sniff First, Sprinkle Second: There's nothing like mistaking pepper for cinnamon—so follow your nose when you're not sure!
  • Adopt the Art of Contrast: Use a cutting board that contrasts in color with the items you're slicing and dicing. Try to get a white cutting board and a black cutting board for your kitchen. So when you're cutting up meat, use the white cutting board. Need to cut an onion? Use the black one. Also, use oven mitts, dishtowels, and utensils that contrast with your countertops to make them easier to find.
  • Measure Up: It can be tough to see the lines for each measure on a standard measuring cup. So try using divided measuring cups instead. They are generally easier to use. Even better: they are available in different colors, so you can adopt the color-contrast techniques described above.


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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