Perhaps your friend is confused by the information and doesn’t understand treatment options. Maybe your father is distraught and doesn’t know what to expect. The person with AMD has their own journey. It is your journey that starts here.Understand….Advocate…Help…and take care of yourself as well!
Hearing that you have age-related macular degeneration can be a shock. The patient may be in denial. He may be in a panic because he believes he will go blind. A person will wonder if her life will change completely and if she will need to give up most of her activities.
It takes a while for the diagnosis to sink in. What happens after that is a very individual thing. Some people become depressed and feel like giving up. Others kick into high gear immediately, doing research, looking up treatments and investigating vision rehabilitation.
You can help your loved one deal with this in many ways. It’s ok to ask “how can I help?”. It’s ok to gather information and give it to them. Be guided by what you already know about the person and follow her lead. Some people appreciate a lot of help; others want to take care of everything themselves.
You’ll find out about a lot of devices and gadgets that can make life easier for the person with low vision. Don’t become frustrated if he isn’t interested. He may be still coping with the diagnosis itself and not ready to take action. Depression may be slowing him down or he may be hoping for a miracle.
You can present the information or make suggestions, but he will only take action when he is ready. Watch for those signs and then be sure to share what you have learned.
Research has shown that people with AMD who participate in support groups or self-help programs do much better than those who “go it alone”. It’s encouraging to interact with others who are in the same situation and to share information. Taking charge of your own health is empowering. People who do these two things are happier and sometimes they even contribute to better health.
You can often find a local support group by calling local hospitals, eye clinics or senior centers.
When regular glasses and contact lenses can no longer provide good vision, it’s time for Vision Rehabilitation. This is a term that is used to cover all the tests, devices and techniques that can help people get the most from their remaining vision.
You can learn about Vision Rehabilitation on our website. When your loved one is ready, suggest that she make an appointment with a low vision specialist.
You may be amazed at everything available to people with macular degeneration. There are local and national organizations. At the state level, there are programs to provide assistance of all kinds. In every community, there are places that can help.
We’ve organized these resources into distinct areas and invite you to explore the ones that apply to you and your family. Click here to learn more.