Living with Macular Degeneration and Associated Low Vision Diseases

 Living With Macular degeneration isn’t a disease that shows up out of nowhere, it is a condition that slowly changes your vision over time. You first might have difficultly seeing far away, but eventually the vision loss becomes so severe you cannot cope. Living with macular degeneration isn’t easy and for a lot of people the deterioration can be depressing. If you are diagnosed with age-related, dry or wet macular degeneration, there are ways to cope with the diagnosis and your vision loss. 

Lifestyle Changes to Consider

Living with macular degeneration goes a lot easier if you make lifestyle changes to delay the progression of the disease. These changes aren’t severe and won’t disrupt your daily life, also, they could benefit your health overall.

  • Quit Smoking – If you smoke, it is time to stop. Smoking can actually increase your progression of AMD and lead to full vision loss if you’re not careful.
  • Eat More Fruits and Veggies – Vegetables that are brightly colored have the antioxidants your eyes need. Dark, leafy greens can also help protect your eyes against further damage and may prevent AMD from progressing any further.
  • Check Your Eyes Frequently – If you have been diagnosed with AMD, you need to have your eyes checked regularly. An appointment can tell you if the disease is progressing and also look for other ways to help slow that progression.
  • Use Supplements – Supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of vision loss and reduce progression of macular degeneration. Vitamins hat are high in zinc, beta-carotene and vitamin C are something to consider.

Ask for Help

Living with macular degeneration isn’t easy. If you have it, you may need to ask family or friends for assistance. If your macular degeneration has progressed, you might even need a caretaker to help you around the house with duties like cooking, exercising, etc. 

Use Assistive Technologies

There are assistive technologies available for people living with macular degeneration. Depending on the extent of your vision loss, you could find multiple assistive technology equipment and apps to help you function in your everyday life. 

Some samples of assistive technology include:

  • Specialized phones
  • Telescopes for driving
  • Microphones
  • Voice command technology

There are also apps out there that can help make living with macular degeneration easier. TextDetective, for example, is a smartphone app sold in the Apple Store. This helps find and read text using your smartphone’s built-in camera. The product is a paid app,  you can buy TextDetective through Low Vision Technologies. If you’re losing vision because of age-related macular degeneration,  try Text Detective   and other assistive technology software programs from Low Vision Technologies today.

Adjusting to Living With Macular Degeneration: Depression

One of the first things you may experience is depression.

depressed woman in wheelchair suffering from macular degeneration

There's nothing wrong with you if you become depressed after your low vision diagnosis.

What you should know is that depression is its own disease, meaning you shouldn't take it lightly. If you find that you're experiencing any of the symptoms I've given you below, I encourage you to seek help because untreated depression is the leading cause of elder suicide.

Here is what you may be experiencing:

  • Lower energy levels
  • Anxiety or sadness that goes far beyond "normal"
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Less interest in activities or hobbies you used to love engaging in
  • Constant irritability
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Difficulty making basic decisions
  • Difficulty recalling basic information
  • Chronic stomach pains or headaches

If you're seeing many of the above symptoms, I encourage you to get help because once you do, there are many positive ideas I can bring you in terms of living with low vision in an empowering way.

Adjust Your Home

There are steps to take that will make your home easier to operate and live in:

Contrast - Accidents, such as breaking a glass, happen when it's difficult to see dark colors against other dark colors (the same goes for lighter shades, too).

Set up your kitchen, for example, where you have dark colored plates, bowls and glasses if your counter tops are light, or vice versa. The same goes for your hand towels and dishcloths.

You can apply the same principle in each room of your home.

Better Lighting - Under cabinet lighting, overhead lights, extra hallway/stair lighting, task lighting, etc can all be used to help your vision inside.

Bathroom - Use brightly colored, non-skid mats, grab bars, contrasting colors for towels, toilet seat, and bath rubber mat, and contrasting tub tape.

Paint your doors with contrasting colors, or even remove them and replace with bright curtains.

Friends and Family

Living with macular degeneration can be tough for your family and friends. They, too, can experience feelings of loss, anger, or helplessness.

This can then cause them to act differently with you. Encourage them to learn how to accept your condition along with you and that simply acting like their "normal" selves is the best thing they can do for you.

Easing Daily Tasks

Develop a system for where to always place your coat, keys, pots & pans, shoes, glasses, medications, etc.

Use large print on your medication bottles.

Investigate the wonderful technological devices that available to all of us with low vision. For example:

  • Talking cooking gadgets
  • Large print books
  • Large type computer keyboards
  • Talking bibles
  • Lamps with magnifiers
  • Smoke detectors
  • Amplified phones
  • Talking watches
  • Computer screen magnifiers
  • Voice recognition software
  • Talking clocks
  • Screen reading software

My goal is to help you see that living with macular degeneration doesn't need to mean a decline in your standard of living or independence. Instead, you can learn how to thrive in your new life.

If you'd like to learn about all of today's remarkable technology that’s making our low vision lives easier, I encourage you to fill out the form below and I'll send you details.

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