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Manchester High School for Girls

ASPIRING EYE SPECIALIST TACKLES MACULAR DEGENERATION HEAD ON

Aspiring eye surgeon, 18-year-old Aneesa Hameed from Manchester High School for Girls, is making plans to tackle macular degeneration (MD) head on as the UK prepares to mark Macular Week between 25th June and 1st July.

Macular degeneration is particularly close to Aneesa’s heart as some of her family members suffer from the disease, the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK.

The Cheadle resident, who is currently sitting her A-level examinations in Biology, Chemistry and Maths at Manchester High, has been raising awareness of its symptoms among students and staff at her school. She hopes to take her campaign to other schools before pursuing Medicine next year to become an eye specialist.

Of the widely unknown yet common health issue, Aneesa explained: “Prior to my research into macular degeneration, I hadn’t heard anything about it. MD is a huge problem in this country and I felt that I needed to educate people about its effects. There are not many treatments available so prevention of the disease is key. The main warning sign is seeing straight lines appearing distorted and, if you do experience any symptoms, you should contact an optometrist immediately. Otherwise, the central vision may be lost within weeks.

“An effective way to prevent MD is to wear UV protected sunglasses as it is proven that up to 80% of UV radiation damage happens before the age of 18. I want to tell my peers about the disease in the hope that they all pick up a pair of sun glasses and safeguard themselves!”

Aneesa’s talks at MHSG were a great success and she has already raised £360 for the Macular Society. She said: “The support from teachers was fantastic and enabled me to take my talks to a wide audience. My whole experience at Manchester High has been amazing and I have made life long friends. I am, however, really looking forward to the next chapter in my life and hopefully will reach many more people about the important issue of looking after your vision.”

Manchester High School for Girls is welcoming applications to its Sixth Form. Please visit www.manchesterhigh.co.uk/sixthform or call the Registrar on 0161 224 0447.