By Lee Hui Xin Leanne, Optometrist, International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, Singapore

In conjunction with the nationwide Awareness of Macular Diseases Week (16-23 September 2017), a free public forum on “Common Eye Conditions” was organised by International Eye Cataract Retina Centre to raise the awareness of eye care and potentially blinding eye conditions in the community. The public forum, held in Farrer Park Hospital, marked the official end of the Awareness of Macular Diseases Week 2017, a public health campaign currently in its 13th edition.

The Awareness of Macular Diseases Week first started in 2005 and was the brainchild of Dr Au Eong Kah Guan, then Adjunct Associate Professor and Head at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in Alexandra Hospital. Initially known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Week, the goals of the campaign were:

  • To generate awareness and understanding of AMD
  • To promote the importance of education, early detection, knowledge of treatment and rehabilitation options, with the objective of increasing the number of people over 55 years who receive regular eye examinations
  • To preserve vision and improve the quality of life of individuals affected by AMD and increase the proportion of people with AMD who receive treatment and rehabilitation

During AMD Awareness 2014, a coffee-table book titled “A Vision for the Nation: A Decade of AMD Awareness Campaign in Singapore” was published to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the public health campaign.

The AMD Awareness Week became known as Awareness of Macular Diseases Week 2 years ago as it expands its mission to raise awareness of other conditions that also affect the macula, the central most sensitive part of the retina. The current organiser of the annual event, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, works with multiple partners across the island to bring this campaign to the community.

During this year’s Awareness of Macular Diseases Week, ophthalmologists from International Eye Cataract Retina Centre screened members of the public for eye diseases at a nominal fee of $10.00 in Farrer Park Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard) from 16 to 23 September 2017. Optometrists Olga Aprianti Lee and Ng Shu Yi from International Eye Cataract Retina Centre also helped to raise funds for the Macular Degeneration Society, a patient support group, at the launch of the week in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital on 16 September 2017.

Dr Ajeet Madhav Wagle and Dr Joy Chan closed the week with a free public forum on eye conditions commonly seen in the community such as age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye.

Members of the public who are interested to participate in the next free public forum can register here.