A diagnosis of macular degeneration can be scary, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of the life you currently lead. With a few tips and the right outlook, coping with this disease can become easier.
When an older adult has macular degeneration, this typically means there is a loss of vision in the central area of the eye. This can affect the person’s ability to drive and see faces as well as cause difficulty in writing or reading a watch.
At first, it is understandable that one would see the negative in this condition, but it is important to see the positive as well. For many with macular degeneration, they have been able to continue on in their lives with a little help.
For example, actor Don Knotts, from The Andy Griffith Show and Three’s Company was, at first, upset and depressed when he was diagnosed with macular degeneration. His outlook changed when he realized that his condition could be so much worse: “I got pretty depressed for awhile,” he said. “And then one day I said to myself, I bet a blind person would give his right arm to have the vision I have.” Even with the disease, Knotts was still able to act and pursue his favorite activities such as swimming.
Tips for Living with Aging Macular Degeneration
While reversing the symptoms of macular degeneration is not possible, it is possible to find ways to make living with the disease easier.
- Use your hearing – Take some time to increase your hearing skills. Listen to books and CDs on tape. It may seem odd at first, but over time, it is common to have increased sensitivity in your other senses.
- Use the sense of touch – Examine the texture of items in your home such as your clothes or other items you use on a regular basis. This will allow you to identify them without seeing them. The same can be done with a cane and using it to gain more information about the environment around you.
- Make the most of what sight you have – Be sure to have your eye doctor check your glasses. Having the best prescription possible will help give you the best vision outcome.
- Find the right gadgets – There are all sorts of gadgets from alarm clocks to radios, and telephones that are made for those with impaired vision. These items typically have larger numbers or actually speak the information you need out loud.
- Get support – Consider joining a support group for macular degeneration. It will help knowing others are dealing with the same issues you are. Also, they will have found ways to help make their lives and dealing with the disease easier, and you can learn from them.
Going through the stages of macular degeneration can be difficult, but with some help, support, and a few changes, you or a loved one can continue to live a long and satisfying life, even with this disease.