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Hi. I was diagnosed as having the early sign of dry AMD a year ago aged 55, I had cataract surgery on both my eyes in my mid 40s. My overall vision is good since the surgery, having worn glasses for extreme short sightedness all my life, I've enjoyed only needing them for some activities now.

I was referred by my optician following a sight test because I have blank spots in my vision. I sometimes struggle with the computer screen confusing characters because I cannot see the whole letter. Can be interesting as I work in accounts! I also find lights at night difficult and have stopped driving in the dark. I was very upset by my diagnosis and this is the first time I've really voiced my concerns to anyone outside my immediate family.

I was given a leaflet at the hospital, told to eat fruit and vegetables and one day it would get worse but little more than that. I already eat lots of fruit & veg and how long is a long time? My optician has subsequently given me the amsler grid and explained it's use but is there more I should know. How long is SLOW deterioration? I find this all very depressing as I love sewing and embroidery and have always looked forward to spending my retirement years blissfully stitching. Am I going to have good enough vision left for that?

Any comments or information would be gratefully received.

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  • Dear OldPossum,

    I am sorry to read of your recent diagnosis and related concerns. The impact of the diagnosis of any eye condition is generally compared to experiencing bereavement. Individuals frequently go through very similar feelings and responses but in no set order. We do have a free telephone counselling service which can be particularly useful when an individual is initially coming to terms with the diagnosis. Please contact us for further details if this is of interest.

    The dry type is related to the ageing process and is more common in individuals over the age of 55 years. The deterioration is generally slow and over a period of months and years. However, how fast and how far the condition deteriorates is variable between individuals. There is currently no treatment for it, however, we talk about the importance of lifestyle considerations which can hopefully have a positive impact on eye health and potentially slow down the deterioration a little. Therefore, for instance, exercise is good for general health as well as eye health. It is important to try and maintain a healthy weight, keep blood pressure under control and avoid smoking. Research indicates that being careful with regard to nutrition can potentially have a positive impact on eye health as well as general health and it is important to be careful with regard to protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun.

    10-15% of people with the dry type go on to develop wet in the same eye. Therefore it is important that if you do notice any sudden eye changes, you either go to the optometrist so that they can check behind your eye or to the emergency eye clinic. If the optometrist identifies possible wet, then the Royal College of Ophthalmology guidelines indicate that they must do a fast track referral on the day of the appointment, via fax, straight through to the eye clinic, so that you can be seen and treated within 2 weeks.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further help. The Macular Society helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday on 0300 3030 111.

    Kind regards,

  • Hi oldpossum, just wanted to send you a hug x We all recognise the fear and worry, just know you are not alone. Often its easier to just put a brave face to the world and fall apart behind closed doors but this forum is a place to rest your fears and ease your heart. I find a good cry always helps, then you can take a deep breath and crack on enjoying the life you have rather than letting one bad part of it overwhelm you x

    I have a similar problem with data entry and my work provided a massive screen which enables me to set font size really big and see numbers much better. I also have a black and yellow oversized keyboard which helps me when looking from one to the other. Plus Ive just bought a handheld magnifier for paperwork.

    At home I bought a floor standing magnifier with illumination for hand sewing etc and there are "easy thread" needles too. The RNIB website has lots of kit but its quite expensive, Ive gotten mine from other sources which have been cheaper but probably not the same quality - ok for now though, if things get worse I will probably spend a bit more!

    The Mac Soc website has lots of info, also about vitamin supplements, and a helpline, they are very good. Best wishes to you going forward x

    Ps, green leafy veg eg kale, spinach, v good for eyes. I put it in hot dishes and also in cold smoothies with fruit (the ninja blender is good).

  • Thanks for the tips. I have not told my employer yet. I actually started this job just 3 days after my diagnosis so have not felt brave enough to share the information yet. I use my own laptop so I have control over font size etc but unfortunately the accounts software I use does not respond well to larger fonts - I end up losing half the information! I am managing at the moment but know I need to think about what may happen in the future. Having told my husband I have found this forum has made me realise that he needs to know more too but needed me to start the ball rolling. This is the first time I've taken my head out of t be sand since getting the news.

  • You will deal with it, day by day x

    Re the work thing - I may be cynical but I always feel it's best to be up front about health issues as employers then can't get rid of you easily by the back door. You can show you didn't know at interview so it's not like you hid anything.

    Of course every situation is different. I am lucky my occ health dept are very supportive (as opposed to hr) and I feel safer having them on my side.

    There are some expensive external magnifiers for computers which might be worth you and your employer looking at if the software won't let you increase font big enough.

    Let us know how you get on x

  • I work for a very small company - I am HR, H&S, Office Manager, & accountant & anything else you can think of which actually makes things harder. In fairness, I'm sure they will be very supportive when it comes to the crunch, I think I just need to be ready to tell them so will probably wait until I really, really need help. At the moment I am concentrating on getting as fit and healthy as I can be but I will keep you posted. I will contact the Macular Society soon too, head has just gone back in the sand a bit, think it only really came half way out!

  • Hi OldPossum, definitely get further advice from Mac Soc. The challenges of living with AMD are many but not insurmountable! And it's great to speak and share with others who have an understanding of what you are going through. Like eyesright has said, eat kale, spinach etc and have an areds2 vitamin supplement like Vision Defender AMD alongside may be helpful to slow down deterioration, particularly on days when you don't feel like having more kale or are on holiday and just don't have kale to hand! "I find a good cry always helps, then you can take a deep breath and crack on enjoying the life you have rather than letting one bad part of it overwhelm you" - words of wisdom from eyesright and I totally agree! Good luck!

  • Hi my mother has AMD and very poor vision in one eye ,the other eye slightly better.we went to the London Eye Hospital where they treat this condition.T hey cannot cure it but have developed a lens that diverts the image onto the side of the retina where the retina is unaffected .AMD affects the central vision not the peripheral vision.We paid private for this as there was no other option but they have just started treating it in Manchester on the NHS.Look up macular degeneration at the London Eye Hospital Dr Bobby Qureshie all the information is there ,also Boots in Blackpool are doing trials on supplements monitoring people with photos of the retina.They recommend Macushield and we bought ours on line at Yates and Suddel. much much cheaper than anyone else.Apparantly Macushield thickens up the retina. Hope this helps you Paula ps my mother's vision is much better and it apparently continues to improve ,as the brain gets used to this new system .

  • Hello. I am interested in this for my Mother. Can you tell me how much she sees now and does she see everything normally?

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