My grandma has Age-related Macular Degeneration.
(Picture of me, my grandma, and my mom)
I asked her some questions about her life, and how vision loss has affected her.
Of course, she was kind enough to write all the answers out for me. She has always supported me (and the rest of our family!) in whatever we set out to do.
First, some background on her life.
My Grandma was born in a very small town in Wisconsin, in 1924. She went to college, where she met the love of her life, my grandpa. They shared a love for learning and both trained as teachers. My grandma is a life-long musician, and has generously shared her gifts with her church and family. She combined raising three children with a career in education that spanned 35 years. After my grandpa passed away, my grandma began homeschooling five of her great-grandchildren, so her education career is not quite over yet! I asked her the following questions, and I have her answers for you.
At what age did you notice that your vision was not where it had been? When did you begin wearing glasses?
In 5th grade, (10 years old) my teacher noticed I seemed to be near-sighted. I had my eyes tested and have worn glasses ever since.
What is your experience with Macular Degeneration?
I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration in 2007. It was dry at that time. I also had cataracts which I had removed. I don't remember what year that was. I think it was about five years ago or thereabouts that my left eye became wet ARMD, and I had treatment for that eye (a shot) About a year or so later, the right eye went to wet ARMD. I lost some sight in my left eye, but it seems to have scarred over, and no longer gets a shot. However, my ophthalmologist keeps close watch of it. I have to go in every four weeks now. The photographer takes a picture of the back of my eye, and he compares it with the time before to see how it is doing. Because we got the right eye treated in time, there has been little or no noticeable damage to my sight. The left eye has some damage. If the right eye were like the left eye, I wouldn't be able to recognize people.
What have you changed as a result of your vision loss? What has been the hardest adjustment?
I need more light in order to see. Without the use of both eyes, my depth perception is affected, especially with close sight. At a distance, the eyes seem to be able to blend more. There is a part of my left eye that seems to help, but it would be only peripheral vision. My eyes may get tired more readily. I need artificial tears more. It's harder for me to read fine print now. I think that loss of depth perception is one of the things that I miss most.
Any other thoughts you would like to share?
I am so grateful that I have been able to get the treatments. And so grateful for the wonderful support I have from family. My daughter-in-law faithfully takes me to get the treatments as I am not able to drive after having them. If she or my son isn't available, my grand-daughter will do it, altho' that means packing up all five kids and taking them, too. But I am so grateful, I just count my blessings!
Thank you, Grandma!
And, readers, if you are at risk for AMD, please go get your eyes checked!
I'm the owner of Family First Braille, the author of this blog, and the editor of Family First Braille Magazine.