Macular Degeneration
To see, or not to see?
That was the question.

by Kerry
(VA, USA)

My grandmother has had macular degeneration for as long as I can remember. I began to realize the implications of this disease when she began having difficulty reading letters that my sister and I would write to her while we were in college.


Then, when we came to visit her at a holiday one year, she had quite a mess on her dining room floor and simply could not see what we were talking about when we referenced it.

Finally, she began doing what my sisters and I referred to as “the feel test” to determine who the person was that she was greeting.

When we would enter her house, she would come hug each of us and rub her hands up and down our sides. The person who was slightly bigger with a bigger chest was one of my sisters, the tiny one with no chest was my older sister, and I was the one in between.

She would do the same with the guys in my family. The bigger guy was my brother-in-law, the small guy was my boyfriend, and the medium sized guy was my father.

This “feel test” became a source of entertainment for everyone in my family (except my grandma) until we realized how much her vision had truly degenerated. She began using a lighted magnifying glass to read menus, letters/cards, and even dollar bills to determine the amount.

She began listening to books on CD and books on tape instead of reading. As her Macular Degeneration took over and her vision changed, her outlook on life never altered.

She began using her other senses more as her vision became less; much like a person who was blind since birth, she used her hands as her eyes in many cases. At the ripe age of 81 years, she still carries her lighted magnifying glass, audio CDs, and a smile on her face.

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