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New Zealanders lack knowledge about eye health: survey
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A shocking number of people in New Zealand are neglecting the health of their eyes, according to a survey released on Sunday.

The survey, released to coincide with Save our Sight month, revealed that approximately 68,000 New Zealanders over 40 percent have glaucoma.

Half of them don't even know they have the disease which undetected can lead to blindness, but can be treated if diagnosed early.

Similarly, the survey found 41 percent of people were unaware that macular degeneration, a condition which affects people as they age, can lead to blindness.

Forty-seven percent of participants in the survey felt uninformed or very uninformed about eye health in New Zealand, and 62 percent of people who don't wear glasses or contact lenses had never had an eye examination, the survey said.

Save our Sight month throughout September is an annual initiative promoted by the New Zealand Association of Optometrists.

The survey, Eye Health in New Zealand: A study of public knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to eye health and disease, is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

The survey also found that behaviors which negatively affect eye health were not clearly understood.

More than 70 percent of the people in the survey thought that reading under dim lights was bad for your eyes, and only 64 percent were aware that smoking cigarettes was bad for your eyes.

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2009)

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