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Wednesday / May 18.
HomeminewsAustralia Leads the Way in MD Awareness

Australia Leads the Way in MD Awareness

Australia is leading the world in raising awareness of Macular Degeneration (MD) with the support of the optometry profession in Australia.

Following a national TV and print campaign featuring the ‘How’s Your Macula?’ theme which ran from October to December 2008 the Foundation recorded a massive increase in awareness of MD.

The TV advertising program was complimented by a national mainstream print media campaign, with advertisements appearing in publications including Australian Women’s Weekly, Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend and Burke’s Backyard.

The Foundation measured the success of the campaign via research of the general population (Galaxy Poll) as well as the optometry profession.

Julie Heraghty, CEO Macular Degeneration Foundation, said: “the outstanding results of the research reflected the enormous efforts contributed from eye health partners to ensure a real difference in the awareness levels of Australians of MD. This will contribute to the early detection of the disease with a chance to save the sight of our elderly community.”

The campaign resulted in a dramatic increase in key performance indicators in answer to the call to action in the advertising “to have your eyes tested and make sure the macula is checked”.

Key Galaxy Poll Findings

The most significant results from the Galaxy Poll were:

  • Have heard of the term Macular Degeneration – an increase of 42 per cent since February 2007.
  • Awareness of MD amongst Australians aged 50 years and over – an increase of 51 per cent
  • Aware that MD affects the eyes – an increase of 72 per cent
  • Have had a macula check in the past two years – one in three Australians (32 per cent) reported they had a macula check, up from 21 per cent in December 2007
  • Those aged 50 years and over who have had their macula checked in the past two years – an increase of 66 per cent since Feb 2007.
  • The ‘How’s Your Macula?’ theme advertisement reached a potential audience of over 5.5 million people in the 55 plus age bracket alone, with the print campaign reaching a potential audience of almost 6 million people in the 50 plus age bracket.

Detailed Findings

Awareness of MD
Overall, 64 per cent of the population have heard of the term ‘Macular Degeneration’. This is a significantly higher percentage than was measured in December 2007 (46 per cent) or February 2007 (47 per cent).

Awareness of MD – aged 50 plus
Amongst Australians aged 50 years and over, 79 per cent are aware of Macular Degeneration, an increase on December 2007 (62 per cent) and February 2007 (58 per cent).

Awareness that MD affects the Eyes
More than half (52 per cent) the population are aware that Macular Degeneration affects the eyes. This is considerably higher than measured in December 2007 (34 per cent) or February 2007 (32 per cent).

Macula checks – aged 50 plus
One of the most pleasing findings was that one in three Australians (32 per cent) have had their macula checked in the past two years. This figure is up from 21 per cent 12 months ago. Amongst those aged 50 years and over, half (49 per cent) have had their macula checked in the past two years.

Awareness of MD – Source
The most common place Australians have seen or heard anything about Macular Degeneration is on TV, with 40 per cent of the population recalling this medium. Amongst those who are aware that Macular Degeneration affects the eyes, 65 per cent have seen or heard something about Macular Degeneration on TV.

Optometrist Research

Optometrists participated in the Foundation’s online research and the results were outstanding with a significant increase in patient visits to the optometrist.

They had a 16 per cent increase in patient flows and 8 per cent increase in new patients, of those over 50 years of age, and a doubling in the number of patients specifically asking to have their macula checked.

Foundation’s Services

In addition there was a huge increase in demand for the MD Foundation’s services. The Foundation’s website received increased hits of 50 per cent and the Foundation received an unprecedented amount of calls from across Australia asking for advice and information.

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