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Connacht Tribune

Throwing light on sight loss – and the solution

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Two years ago, retired art teacher Moyra Manifold went to get her eyes tested with nothing more pressing than the belief she needed stronger reading glasses – only it turned out to be a little bit more than that.

The Galway antique shop owner was diagnosed with Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the number one cause of sight loss in Ireland for those aged over 50, with more than 7,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

She knew all about the condition, because her brother was diagnosed with the same thing around ten years previously. He had described it as ‘like a cloud in front of your eyes that gets denser’.

Moyra also found she struggled to see straight ahead and noticed she was reading the Sunday newspaper sideways in order to be able to see the small print.

Yet, even though Moyra was experiencing these symptoms, she said there was ‘no big change’ in her eyesight and described it as quite a gradual deterioration.

Soon after her diagnosis, Moyra had a cataract operation which she described as a ‘quick and short treatment’.

Moyra classes herself as very lucky. “If you don’t have it treated you could go blind,” she said and since she has retired, she has owned an antique shop in Galway called An Gailearaí Beag and is an avid painter so having good eye sight is vital for her.

AMD is hereditary, and Moyra believes her mother also had the condition, but people weren’t aware of it at the time.

Moyra said she remembers her mother wearing strong glasses and getting books with large print from the library for her but was able to tell that she still couldn’t see properly.

This week marked the eleventh annual AMD Awareness Week and the theme for this year is ‘Sightsee with Me.”

Sightseeing and travelling with family is enjoyed by many people and the campaign aims to highlight the importance of managing eye health to continue to see impressive sights with loved ones.

Although Moyra likes travelling, she has nothing planned at the moment but recently went on a trip to Transylvania with her friend from Art College which she described as ‘great fun’.

She went on her first guided tour and ‘absolutely loved it’ and said there was a mix of all different ages there.

“They could all see where they were going and so could I,” she said.

As part of the awareness week, Novartis, a multinational pharmaceutical company, offered free AMD eye testing on an open top bus travelling the country and also provided information on the condition.

And, with the help of the Association of Optometrists Ireland, Fighting Blindness, the Irish College of Ophthalmologists and the National Council for the Blind they provided a range of other targeted initiatives that encouraged people over 50 to get an AMD eye test to ensure they continued to see the things they love.

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland also hosted coffee mornings during the week to raise public awareness and to encourage discussion about the condition.

Lynda McGivney-Nolan, Optometric Advisor to Association of Optometrists said that optometrists are trained to identify the early changes at the macula which can appear before your eye sight is affected and they are also trained to give you the best advice on how to reduce and manage your risk of developing AMD.

“If you have any concerns about your vision, you should always talk to your optometrist,” she said.

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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