My Struggle with Macular Degeneration

by PJ
(Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)

I had a full life even after retirement for many years. I was active in the community, at church, watching my grandchildren grow up.

But in my late 60s I began experiencing vision problems. Now I should add that I had had, throughout my entire life prior to that time, perfect vision.

Also among my immediate family, I had never needed glasses, or had any vision trouble of any kind.

So you may imagine the panic that beset me upon experiencing blurred vision for the first time in my life. I assumed it was something age-related, that my sight was going all at once due to simple growing old.

My optometrist told me otherwise, in a way, but what he told me was no comfort: I had macular degeneration.

He said I could expect my vision to steadily decline until I would be effectively blind. His reassurances that I would retain some peripheral vision, and perhaps, with the aid of a magnifying glass, be able to read large-print, was no consolation to me at all.

I nearly gave in to despair, and might have if not for the love and support my wife Joan.

Joan was there for me every step of the way as my vision blurred more and more, and I became every day less and less able to help myself. She has been my angel and my saint.

The disease seems to have done its worst to me, but as you can see, I am still able to manage, even enough to type this; with the help of large print (and I thank the makers of a particular web browser for allowing me to magnify the screen several times, enabling me to participate, as well as read the news every day) I can still read news online and in the paper, and most web sites.

I can no longer see faces, and this has been a tremendous loss to me both in that I'm unable to see my grandchildren grow older, and that I'm unable to see my Joan's face again.

I do still have peripheral vision to some degree, and can see changes in light and color fairly well by that. But overall I have become effectively, and certainly legally, blind.

It has been an ordeal I had never expected to have to contend with in my lifetime, and my family and friends have been remarkably supportive.

I'm thankful for them every day.

Dry Macular Degeneration

Wet Macular Degeneration

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