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Eyes on education

A cartoon character has been created to raise awareness of AMD, but how else can the profession promote the importance of eye health?

The Macular Society's new cartoon character 'Mac'

As practitioners, you are, of course, aware of the multitude of eye conditions that patients can present with, as well as their symptoms and the effects they may have on someone’s vision. However, as practitioners, I’m also sure that you’re all too aware of the ‘average’ patient’s lack of awareness of these conditions.

I was shocked this week to read details from a recent survey by the Macular Society, which revealed that while one in six people will know someone with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), many have never heard of the condition, which is the most common cause of blindness.

Taking steps to raise awareness around the sight-threatening condition, the charity has teamed up with the creators of Wallace and Gromit to introduce the public to ‘Mac’ – an animated character that aims to educate people about AMD and the impact it can have on a person’s life.

I think that, as a profession, optics has long been aware of the need to educate patients about the importance of regular eye tests, as well as sight-threatening conditions, but it is certainly an ongoing concern. The AOP is working to support its members with this ongoing education, with a new ‘In patients’ section on its website that is designed to provide the public with advice about looking after their eyes, as well as inform them about the ins and outs of a sight test.

Very soon the AOP will also release a range of downloadable patient leaflets on some of the most common eye conditions, which it encourages members to print off and use in practice. Visit the ‘For patients’ section of the website for more information.

Watching the video below got me thinking about what other fun animated characters could be created to help educate people about common eye conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. Share your ideas for an eye-educating character on the AOP’s forum.