Macular Degeneration

It is a condition that affects central vision creating a blind spot and distorting the surrounding image, leaving sufferers to rely on their peripheral vision.

What is Macular Degeneration?

It is a condition that affects central vision creating a blind spot and distorting the surrounding image, leaving sufferers to rely on their peripheral vision. In dry macular degeneration, the center of the retina deteriorates. With wet macular degeneration, leaky blood vessels grow under the retina and blood can seep into the eye through the wall of the macular.
Age-related Macular Degeneration “AMD” is the predominant disease, affecting 12% of people over 80, but in addition to this dystrophies and genetic disorders that have similar symptoms can impact younger people; there are 70,000 new diagnoses every year.

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Some common challenges

The condition is frustrating, debilitating and devastating for people if they are not getting the right kind of support and help.

  • Reading labels on medication or in food labels.
  • Carrying out tasks around the house like cooking, which may require accuracy of hand eye coordination
  • Knowing when a bath reaches the required level
  • Watching TV or using other screen based technology applications.
  • Driving

Resources

Guernsey Macular Society – www.macularsociety.org/groups/guernsey-support-group
Name: Bill Gardiner; Email: billandvivg@cwgsy.net; Telephone no: 07781 130772

UK Macular Society – www.macularsociety.org

Common coping mechanisms

  • Publications and products in large print or audio format
  • Mobile phones offer many functions and downloadable apps to help visually impaired people
  • Adjusting the settings of your computer to control text size, magnification, and the screen contrast

Top Tips

  • Make sure their home is well lit, with high-wattage light bulbs and additional lamps or task lighting. The kitchen, bathroom and work areas all should be fully and evenly illuminated
  • Remove unnecessary household clutter. Offer to help with organising important items and packing up others
  • Be a shopping buddy. Getting out of the house can help lift the spirits of a person with low vision. If their vision is not good enough to drive, offer to take them grocery shopping once a week
  • Help them locate items on the store shelves. Encourage them to do as much of the shopping task as they can on their own, but be close by to help when needed
  • When walking with someone with impaired vision, try to walk a few steps ahead, at a pace that is slower than usual. This way, the individual can anticipate the terrain based on your cues. Alert them to steps, curbs and other potential problems you are approaching that might be difficult to see.

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