Vision is vital, says veteran newsreader

Last updated 05:00 26/05/2014

Philip Sherry talks macular degeneration

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Veteran broadcaster Philip Sherry has returned to read the news one last time, with information that could save your sight.

Sherry, one of New Zealand's longest serving newsreaders, has firsthand experience of the debilitating impact macular degeneration can have, as his mother suffered from the condition.

New Zealand's leading cause of blindness, one in seven New Zealanders over 50 show evidence of macular degeneration, and the rate rises sharply with age,

Yet new research released by Macular Degeneration New Zealand shows only 67 per cent of New Zealanders in the vulnerable age group have heard of the condition.

It can result in a loss of central vision, impacting the ability of affected individuals to read, recognise faces, drive, and see colours clearly.

Sherry said he was devastated when his mother was assessed as having just two per cent sight as a result of macular degeneration.

"I watched the effect of that on her, and her ability to properly identify people and objects and to enjoy the same kind of independence I was used to seeing her enjoy.

"So it had a profound effect upon me, and I know that it affected my mother greatly."

Early detection of the condition is critical, and it can be easily identified through a simple sight test using the Amsler Grid that can be done at home.

Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, which begins today, aims to encourage all New Zealanders over 50 to have regular eye examinations.

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