Treatment for Advanced Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration

Treatment for Advanced Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration

Posted on Jun.03, 2011, by , under Inspirational Stories

Age Related Macular Degeneration

This week at work I received a call from an 87 year old man who wanted to get a second opinion on treatment for his advanced dry age related macular degeneration (AMD). He stated that he had been seeing a macular degeneration specialist who had told him that there was nothing more that he could offer him.

Not wanting to allow his vision to deteriorate without checking out all his options he wanted to pursue coming to another retina doctor. He told me that he really missed reading the newspaper and that he could read only the headlines, but not any of the article. This of course sent up a red flag for me and I become much more concerned about him living with macular degeneration than treating his macular degeneration. I asked what he was using to read the newspaper and he said he had a handheld 3” magnifier. After finding out a little bit more about his situation, I realized that he had never been to nor had he ever heard of low vision services.

Referring patients to an eye center that helps AMD patients with vision aids is the responsibility of the eye doctor or eye office. Sadly for many patients this never happens. Low vision services are staffed by licensed Doctors of Optometry or Ophthalomology who are specially trained in the examination, treatment and management of patients who have eye conditions that are no longer treatable, such as my 87 year old caller.

The patient identifies what tasks they are having difficulty with and the low vision specialist then offers them a vision aid that allows them to perform that task. Like the 87 year old who wants to read the newspaper. The low vision specialist would see if special magnifying glasses would work for him or if he would be better off with an electronic magnifier, like a low vision CCTV.

You do not need to wait for your doctor or loved one’s doctor to refer you to a low vision specialist . After telling my caller how an appointment with one of our low vision specialists would help him, he expressed so much gratitude. He discovered that perhaps treating his AMD was not the answer, but learning to live better with it was.

There are several resources to find where the closest low vision rehab is to your city or town. For a list of these organizations go to:
Low Vision Services