Chapter 1 – The Shock!
The Shock of Having Macular Degeneration
“Every day I wake up and I just want to be able to see. It’s an everyday thing. Every day I feel terrible. I open my eyes and I’m like, ‘am I going to be worse today?’…That’s why I like to sleep, because when I dream, and I can see perfectly.” -Wayne Fielder
Life is full of unexpected and upsetting events and, like a flash of lightning, your life can change. One such event, like being told you have macular degeneration and new glasses won’t help, can be so upsetting that clear thinking is virtually impossible. At that moment, when faced with the terror of being blind, this advisory guide can be quite helpful.
At International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, what we’ve seen over the years in working with low vision patients is a state of chaos; a state of not knowing what to do, who to go to or how to deal with permanent vision loss. Confusion and fear take over as people have no idea what their life will be like or what they should do.
Take for example our patient, Wayne Fielder. At the age of seven, Wayne Fielder was diagnosed with amblyopia in his left eye, commonly known as lazy eye. Wayne had no way of knowing that macular degeneration had struck the left eye because his vision had been poor in the left eye since birth.
It Was Time to Renew His Driver’s License…
Wayne scheduled regular eye exams every few years and received new glasses each time the right eye vision changed. On November 23, 2014, it was time to renew his driver’s license. During previous DMV visits, Wayne could read the vision charts with the help of glasses. This trip was different. Wayne’s vision had slowly reduced to the point that charts were impossible to read and to his surprise, his license was revoked! Wayne scheduled an appointment with his eye doctor for new glasses.
That’s where he received the upsetting news that macular degeneration had developed in the right eye and new glasses would not improve his vision.
Terrifying Questions About Macular Degeneration
Wayne was devastated. Confusion and worry took over as he asked himself “How will I pay the mortgage? How will I support my family? What will become of me?” Those are very terrifying questions to be faced with.
For the past 12 years, Wayne has worked in Los Angeles as a set medic, performing tasks like removing splinters, checking an actor’s sore tooth, and other first aid issues. For the most part, Wayne has managed to adapt by using stronger reading glasses and sometimes a magnifying glass. But the vision was failing rapidly. After hearing the news that his vision could not be helped, Wayne believed his career was over.
Dear upset, confused and scared patient, YOUR LIFE IS NOT OVER. Many patients are faced with the same news and, if you are one of them, these article series are for you!
We have worked with over 6,000 patients with AMD
We are low vision optometrists, who have worked with over 6,000 patients with AMD and we can promise you that you are not going to lose all your vision. Macular degeneration does not, will not and never will cause blindness. There is a huge difference between legally blind and totally blind.
If you have recently received the news that you are legally blind or facing permanent vision loss, what you need right now is a recipe to follow that will get you through the shock and upset of this news. This guide will lead you through the steps of what to do and how to manage permanent vision loss. Your life will be different but you will be okay. You have a challenge ahead of you but you can still live a beautiful life.
There is Life After Vision Loss!
As founder of The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, our commitment is that “There is Life After Vision Loss”.
Jane Russell, the late, great actress called her telescopic glasses “beautiful” because she could read and see her television again, says Dr. Richard J. Shuldiner, Low Vision Optometrist and Founder of The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists.
Richard J. Shuldiner, OD, FAAO, FIALVS With late actress Jane Russell