Living With Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is an age-related reduction in one’s central vision, which can make it difficult to work, drive, etc. You will not go blind from AMD, but you must learn to adapt to the loss of your central vision through a number of changes in your life style.
Below we will discuss some of those changes that can make for a positive outcome, rather than allowing AMD to be a total negative experience.
As with many challenges in our lives, a positive and open attitude can be the most important change you can make. Knowing that others have learned to live with AMD may allow you to adapt more readily to the effects of AMD, but some specific changes can go a long way in helping adjust to the loss of your central vision.
- Increase the amount of contrast in your home (i.e., white plates on dark tablecloth, paint door steps white, use contrasting canisters from your countertop color, etc.)
- As reading becomes more difficult, use aids (ex. large faced print books/mags, watches that talk, magnifiers to enhance what you are looking at, etc.)
- Reduce glare in your home (cover shiny hardwood floors with rugs, utilize sheer curtains rather than having no coverings over windows, find positions in rooms that reduce glare from any light source, etc.)
- Increase indoor lighting sources to compensate for the reduced vision due to AMD
- Use contrast labels on important items (such as medications to make them more readable)
- Keep hallways and walkways open and uncluttered to reduce the potential for falling
- Consider placing handrails in areas that would normally not have them (ex., along hallways)
- Use computer systems that either allow you to use voice recognition systems or enlarged screen images
- Increase use of corrective prescription lenses
- Arrange household furniture so it does not interfere with flow of traffic
- Seek counseling to learn how to best cope with this condition
- Seek occupational therapy to learn more about adaptive equipment that will reduce the challenges of AMD
- Seek out support groups to avoid feeling all alone in living with AMD
People live with AMD every day, and they live very full lives! It takes a great deal of understanding, adaptation, and support to make the transition from full vision to partial vision, yet, people all over the world are successful in meeting this particular challenge.