Hervey Bay's Bill Murphy suffers from macular degeneration and is pictured with a chart people can use to check for changes in their eyesight.
Hervey Bay's Bill Murphy suffers from macular degeneration and is pictured with a chart people can use to check for changes in their eyesight. Alistair Brightman

Clear need for public eye specialist in region

NEWS the Hinkler electorate is estimated to have the third highest rate of macular degeneration in the country and predictions of 92% growth by 2030 surely makes a strong case for Hervey Bay Hospital to employ an ophthalmologist.

The Wide Bay electorate, which ranks in the top 25 in 2012, but is predicted to move into the top 20 by 2030, adds further weight to the case.

The State Government doesn't provide the funding for a public ophthalmologist in the region and waiting lists for eye surgeries have blown out, triggering a short-term fix.

Patients already on the waiting list are to be sent to private ophthalmologists locally.

All other patients are referred to ophthalmologists at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

A local public ophthalmologist would certainly save people a lot of travel but the difficulty of attracting specialists to regional areas is well known.

If any readers have ideas about how to entice more medical specialists here we'd love to hear them.

Comment online at www.frasercoastchronicle.com.au or send us a letter to PO Box 217, Hervey Bay, 4655.

In the meantime, look after your eyes.

It's Macular Degeneration Awareness Week and the Macular Disease Foundation Australia has advised nutrition and lifestyle are key aspects of good eye health and can reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and slow down its progression, for those already diagnosed.

The foundation recommends eating a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3s.



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