Diagnosis, Age Related Macular Degeneration
One day several months ago, I sat down at my computer and saw the line marking the left margin of its inbox screen was not straight, as usual. I called my husband to take a look, and asked, “Does the left-hand line seem wavy to you?” When he answered a most definite “No,” I was immediately on the phone to my primary care physician.
The very next day I was in the office of a local retina specialist, whose diagnosis was also swift: Age Related Macular Degeneration, left eye.
ARMD punishes the eye with loss of center field vision. It’s a major cause of visual impairment in people over 50, and may lead the way to ultimate blindness.
What to do? First: don’t panic! If you’re like me, someone dependent upon your eyes for work, or “just” need them for the sure and true pleasure of reading, much can now be done to stabilize your vision and stave off further loss. I‘ve accepted the newest treatment, which for my “wet” form of ARMD helps dry up the unwanted pool of liquid that’s making straight lines into wavy ones. This involves shots directly into my left eye.
Please don’t panic at this, either! Eye anesthesia is so good today that you feel virtually nothing when the shot is administered; the only discomfort afterward is sensitivity to light until the numbing medication wears off. The shots (I’ve had nine already) are slowly drying up that liquid pool, and they will continue until there is total dryness, or no further progress. But even now, the lines that once were so bent are almost arrow-straight. My brother-in-law has gone blind from this condition, so I consider my progress a very modern miracle.
The book, “Macular Disease: Practical Strategies for Living with Vision Loss,” by Peggy R. Wolfe, is helpful for strengthening, sustaining and nurturing one’s mind, body and spirit in the days, weeks, months, even years that follow diagnosis. But Ms. Wolfe was told flat-out by her physician that she could anticipate having no central vision at all in two years. I hope for better. I continue to read without difficulty, and also passed my recent driver’s license renewal test with no problems.
Modern medicine learns more every day. Please join me in hoping that the field of macular degeneration is one in which new learning has quick and lasting payoffs!
Harriet P Gross
The CopyRighter
phone: 214-691-8840
fax: 214–891-1686
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Permission to repost this article given by the author Harriet Gross and the Publisher Carol Butler for The Senior Voice.