People of all ages have been urged to get their eyes checked regularly, as cases of macular degeneration, an eye disease commonly seen among the elderly, have increased 1.5 times in the past decade.
The Hong Kong Ophthalmological Society and the College of Ophthalmologists Hong Kong said on Sunday that the disease is now being detected amongst younger people at an increased rate.
An eye specialist, Frank Lai, said that people can look out for warning signs of the disease, which include vision loss, affected colour vision, and distortion of visual images.
He said: “The macular is the central part of the retina, which is responsible for very sharp and colourful images. So when this place has some degeneration, it will have some deterioration in the function, causing some structural damage and also visual loss."
Though ageing is a common cause for macular degeneration, Lai said that the increase in screen time among the youth could also be a leading reason, given that high myopia is one of the main causes for the disease. He also said that those who suffer from high stress or smoke need to also be mindful of the disease.
“Other risk factors include historic eye trauma, they have inflammation of the eye. Some of them, we even call it idiopathic that means there is no specific cause,” he said.
“But with the advance of the health technologies, people can diagnose those diseases more easily, and they can pick up those diseases at an early stage.”
Lai said that people can prevent the eye disease by having a balanced diet and doing regular exercise. For patients who suffer from macular degeneration, they can undergo Anti-VEGF treatments to stabilise and improve their vision.