As many of our faithful followers know, February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (or AMD) Awareness Month. (Just click the link to find out what AMD is or how it might affect vision.)
Although AMD is a serious condition, having it does not necessarily mean the end of the road for your eyes. There is a wide range of severity of AMD, and for most of the people who have it, the effect on visual function is mild.
A lot of research is being done to fight AMD. Treatments have been developed to slow down and even reverse some of its effects. Injectable medications such as Lucentis, Avastin and Eylea are used to combat the “wet” form of AMD. There are also many over-the-counter vitamins specially formulated to support macular health in people suffering from AMD. If you are wondering if you should be using a vitamin supplement for your eyes, ask your eye doctor.
If you or a family member has advanced AMD, you probably know that some people struggle to accomplish everyday tasks like reading the mail or reading a clock. There are many tools available to help with daily living tasks, from magnification devices to large print materials, to devices like the “talking watch”. There are organizations that specialize in assisting people with vision loss to select and acquire the right tools for their desired tasks. Vision Forward is one such Milwaukee organization that works to give people with vision loss assistance in choosing the tools they need. They also offer information about support groups and other helpful resources.
Some other amazing organizations that exist to support people with vision loss are Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Blind or Visually Impaired Information and Services section of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Assistance is available in the form of adaptive products, daily living skills training, computer training or assistive technology, information and referrals and more.
For people who know what tools they need but are not sure where to get them, there are “brick and mortar” shops like Vision Forward or The Low Vision Store in Milwaukee, and online ordering options such as the Sharper Vision Store. In addition, remember that most libraries do offer audio books and large print materials.
If you are unsure of whether you might have AMD, one of the doctors here at Milwaukee Eye Care would be happy to examine your eyes and discuss in detail all options available.
More information can be found for Vision Forward at http://vision-forward.org/
Written by Bart W., Technician with Milwaukee Eye Care