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Australian government will spend $3 million on macular disease

Photo: Macular disease scores $3m federal cash
The federal government will spend $3 million on macular disease to raise awareness and assist in the early detection of the potentially blinding condition.

Australians living with a degenerative eye disease have been given a $3 million federal government look-in for awareness and early detection of the condition.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced the funding spend into macular disease, which is the leading cause of legal blindness in Australia.

The package includes $1.5 million over four years to boost awareness of the risk factors of the disease, and the other half will be given to organisations for health professional awareness and education for the management of macular degeneration.
A third of the overall package will go directly to Macular Disease Foundation Australia, the peak body for the condition, to strengthen existing education programs.

"As many as one-in-seven Australians over the age of 50 experience some degree of degenerative retinal eye disease, which causes a loss of central vision and the ability to recognise faces, read, drive and carry out many other critical activities in daily life," Mr Hunt said in a statement.

The funding comes off the back of the government commissioning of a national strategic plan for the disease led by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia in 2018.

A focus was placed on the prevention, early detection and treatment of macular disease, support for sufferers, and improved data collection and research.

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