Barbara Watsontalks about how age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affected her.
"I found out I had macular degeneration when I went to the optician for some new glasses.The optician examined my eyes and bluntly told me: 'You've got macular degeneration, but don't worry, you won't go completely blind.'
"It was a horrible surprise.My mother had macular degeneration,but it hadn't occurred to me that I might also have it one day.The signs had probably been there, but I hadn't noticed them.I'd been doing a lot of numerical work and was having problems reading the numbers 6, 8 and 3. I had to concentrate very hard not to get them muddled up.
"At first it wasn't too much of a problem.My right eye was affected, and it stayed that way for three years.But when I began to get macular degeneration in my left eye, I had to give up driving.That was hard because a part of my independence had gone.Luckilymy husband drives, so I can still get around, but it was a difficult time.
"In the last few years, the condition has progressed more rapidly.I've had to give up a number of things I really liked doing, such as calligraphy and tapestry. Reading has become difficult, soI now listen to talking books.I've also been in some embarrassing situations where I've passed friends in the street and not recognised them.
"I always tried to hide it from people, but lately I've started using a white stick when I'm somewhere that's busy or unfamiliar.At first I wasn't keen on using a stick, but onceI got over the embarrassment I've found that it's helpful because people do get out of your way.
"I'm still asteward at the local museum, and I've also joined a walkers group, which is great fun.When I joined theMacular Society it opened up lots of new doors and I've done a lot of fundraising. I've written about my feelings in two books of poems, which have both been published. That's been lovely. And I help my husband with the gardening when I can, although last week I dug up the sage instead of the mint so it can be a bit hazardous sometimes!"
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a painless eye condition that causes you to lose central vision, usually in both eyes. Central vision is what you see when you focus straight ahead. In AMD, this vision becomes increasingly blurred.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) isn't a painful condition. Some people don't realise they have it until they notice a loss of vision. The main symptom of macular degeneration is blurring of your central vision that affects your ability to see objects and fine detail clearly.
The exact cause of macular degeneration isn't known, but the condition develops as the eye ages. Dry AMD is the result of a build-up of waste material in the retina. Wet AMD is caused by tiny blood vessels that grow under the macula.
In some cases, early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be detected during a routine eye test before it starts to cause symptoms. Visit your GP or make an appointment with an optometrist trained to recognize signs of eye problems
There's currently no cure for either type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), although vision aids and treatments may help. It's important to check with your GP before taking supplements.
Possible complications of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including depression, anxiety and visual hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnet syndrome.
Barbara Watson talks about how age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affected her. She says she found out she had macular degeneration when she went to the optician for some new glasses.