Coping With Macular Degeneration
Living with macular degeneration can be challenging, but there are ways to adapt. Here are the most basic of them.
At least 6 million Americans currently have macular degeneration (MD), an eye condition. MD is disruptive. It impairs your central vision, making it difficult or impossible to do ordinary things such as reading, recognizing faces, or driving a car.
There is currently no cure for macular degeneration, but there are treatments that may slow the progression. Many people with MD have even been able to keep working and doing the things they enjoy by making needed adjustments and learning how to cope. Here are some things that you should know.
Learn about adaptive technology. There are many devices available to help partially sighted people make the most of their remaining vision. These vision aids often have special lenses or electronic systems that produce enlarged images. Magnifiers alone come in the form of special reading glasses or computer screens. You can also get large-print books, talking clocks, or audio books. Your eye doctor can help you locate these devices and find the training required to use them. Get help. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Not asking for help can jeopardize your safety or the safety of others. Ask a friend or a loved one or find community services to drive you to an appointment, help you with housekeeping, or make meals. You may also find that you need a little emotional support. Vision loss can lead to depression. If you think you might be depressed, let your doctor or a mental health professional know right away. Make some adjustments. Make your home and workplace as safe as possible. There are lots of ways you can make both home and office less hazardous: Rearrange furniture and avoid tripping hazards such as rugs or cords. Paint various surfaces different colors so you can find your way around. Keep drawers and cabinet doors shut at all times. Use brighter lighting to maximize your remaining vision. Know your rights. People with macular degeneration have certain protections under the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees equal treatment in: Public accommodations, such as restaurants and theaters Employment opportunities Public transportation, such as buses or trolley cars State and local government services Telecommunications Housing
No one can turn you away or deny you service because you have macular degeneration. And if you are diagnosed with this condition, you may be able to meet one or more of the ADA criteria for disability.