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Understanding macular disease and the emotional impact of diagnosis and adult-onset sight loss

Event number: 18702
1.5 CPD hours
APS Institute CPD
Presenter(s): Ms Julie Heraghty

Registrations for this course has now closed

The APS Institute is pleased to offer this informative and valuable webinar to members free of charge.

Understanding macular disease and the emotional impact of diagnosis and adult-onset sight loss

The link between sight loss and depression is well documented, but little understood by many mental health care professionals. This webinar will seek to improve understanding of macular disease and the impact of vision loss.  It will explore the emotional impact of vision loss in four core areas (mood, self concept, social connectedness and loss), and the need for counselling after diagnosis of an eye disease and the specific challenges facing those who deliver counselling to blind and partially sighted clients.

Macular disease is the leading cause of blindness* and severe vision loss in Australia. The most common is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Approximately 1 in 7 Australians over 50 (1.25 million people) have some evidence of AMD, and this rises to 1 in 3 over 80. 50% of all blindness is due to AMD.

AMD is a progressive, chronic disease of the macula (central retina) at the back of the eye. It leads to a loss of central vision, affecting the ability to read, drive, recognise faces and perform activities requiring detailed vision.  AMD does not produce total or black blindness.

The other prevalent macular disease is diabetic eye disease, the incidence of which is increasing due to the growing numbers of diabetics. In addition, there are many other macular diseases that are less common.

Irrespective of the cause, visual impairment prevents healthy and independent ageing. The socio-economic impacts of vision loss include lower employment rates, higher use of services, social isolation, emotional distress and an earlier need for nursing home care.

* legal blindness

Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of macular disease
  • Be able to describe the challenges for a patient with macular disease (primarily age-related macular degeneration) (diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate referral pathways for clients – where, when and how to refer. 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Charles Bonnet Syndrome.
  • Be able to diagnose Charles Bonnet Syndrome and provide appropriate advice and guidance.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the cycle of grief that can be associated with vision loss

The presenter:

Julie Heraghty joined Macular Disease Foundation Australia as Chief Executive Officer in 2004. Under Julie’s leadership the Foundation has evolved into a robust organisation serving the needs of the macular disease community. The activities of the Foundation over this time have resulted in Australia becoming a world leader in awareness of macular degeneration.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Julie spent over seven years as a Policy Advisor to NSW State Ministers, and also served as a director and manager in major government departments. She has served in local government as Deputy Mayor and worked voluntarily for many charitable causes. Julie’s career began as a secondary school teacher and she is also a registered psychologist.

 In 2013 Julie was awarded the Harvard Club of Australia Nonprofit Fellowship to attend the course Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management at the Harvard Business School. The prestigious fellowship was a personal honour for Julie and supported the continued growth and development of the Foundation.

Important Notes:

  • Don’t miss out: If you can't attend at the time, you will still have access to the recording and presentation slides for 12 months.
  • Participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

This is a list of MINIMUM technical requirements you will need to access this webinar: 

  • Windows 7-10; or MacOS X 10.9 (Mavericks) - 10.11 (El Capitan)
  • Google Chrome v34 or later, Internet Explorer 8.0 or later; or Firefox 34 or later; or Safari 6.0 or later
  • 1Mbps Internet connection or better (broadband internet connection recommended)
  • Speakers and Microphone (optional) - USB headset recommended
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.2 and up (latest version preferred)
  • Click here to quickly test your system.
    Please consult the APS Institute's Webinar FAQ sheet at:


Start date: 18/7/2017
End date: 18/7/2017
Time: 7.00-8.30 pm AEST


Free of charge


APS Institute
Contact Anna Makao
03 8662 33000