My Macular Degeneration War

by Nancy

I was diagnosed in May 2011 with dry macular degeneration in one eye and wet macular degeneration in the other eye. Can you imagine my shock? I was only 55 years old and I just thought I needed new glasses.

My vision in the "wet" eye went from 20/20 to 20/200 overnight.

I have had 4 Lucentis injections and my vision has improved to 20/30 and is stable for now.

I have also made major life changes...I was overweight by 100 lbs. I have since lost 50 lbs and am determined to make my goal of losing the entire 100 lbs. And my diet includes plenty of green leafy vegetables. I also take AREDS vitamins daily. And exercise any way I can get it even if it is just parking further away at the mall.

I never wore sunglasses. Too inconvenient. Huge mistake. Now I won't go outside with out them.

AMD can be a very lonely experience. Unless you or a loved one has it, it is very difficult to understand how horribly scary it is. It is very important to take care of your emotional health too. It is far to easy to become depressed by the thought of a future with low vision. So I find joy in every place I can.

I have purchased every book on the subject that I can find and have visited every website I can find. I know that knowledge is power and I don't intend to give up my vision with out a fight.

My new mantra is "I may be losing my sight, but I won't lose my vision!".

Yes, this is war.

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My Mother's New Norm with AMD

by Sue
(Montgomery, NY)

Hello - My name is Sue and I write tonight in regards to my mother who has had macular degeneration for about 37 years. She had early on-set when she was 50 yrs. old and she is now in the end stages at almost 88 yrs. old.

She has VERY limited vision now and has trouble walking because she can't see well. She still lives independently, but I don't know how much longer she can maintain this status. We will see her retina specialist soon, and I will ask him for a referral to a vision group who can assess her needs and make sure she still has the skills necessary to continue to live by herself.

Sometimes she is her own worst enemy and wants to walk on her own, but it would be much safer for her if she would take my arm or use a walker or a cane. Sometimes she wants to prove to me that she is still independent and this is why she won't take my arm even though I offer it to her all the time. I gave her a walker that I had when I had my knee replacement surgery, so she can use it in her home to get around safely. I have no way of knowing if she uses it or not.

She is a very proud lady, and sometimes it's to a fault. I try to give her the respect of her wanting to be independent, but I worry about her as I know she is having a difficult time these days.

She maintained her vision well up until about 2 yrs ago when her vision declined big time and now it has declined again. I guess we have to take it a day at a time and hope for a little more independence for her.

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My Own Story of Living with Macular Degeneration

by J. Earl Leatherwood
(Lubbock, Texas USA)

In 2004, at age 60, my wife and I had gone to Florida to sell roofing to those who had lost their roofs to hurricane Ivan.

While we were there, I noticed the light poles had a u-shape bend to them. I got on the computer and self-diagnosed myself with macular degeneration. We came back in February.

In about September, I went to see Dr. Michael Shami here in Lubbock, and he did diagnose me with wet macular degeneration in both eyes. He started giving me injections of Avastin in both eyes.

Now, in October, 2011, I am still receiving injections, but now, he has changed to Lucentis, as of about 6 months ago, as my eyes got to the point to where they did not respond to the Avastin.

I am still working and driving, as of right now. I am so glad to have such an aggressive and concerned doctor treating me. Otherwise I may have already lost my eyesight.

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