Why Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration Doesn’t Have to Be a Career-Ender

According to a recent article at EverydayHealth.com, wet age-related macular degeneration (wMD) does not have to signify the end of a patient’s career. With developing treatments and tips from specialists, patients are still able to be successful.

Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Wet macular degeneration (wMD) is one of two forms of macular degeneration, and it is characterized by blurred vision or blind spots in one’s vision. The wet form is rarer than the dry form, but wMD always begins as dry macular degeneration. 

Symptoms

The onset of symptoms in this condition is sudden, and symptoms tend to progress quickly. Possible effects include:

  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Visual distortions
  • Trouble adjusting to low light
  • Needing brighter light for activities like reading
  • Reduced central vision
  • Issues reading due to the blurriness of printed words
  • Colors seem less bright and intense
  • Blurry spot within the field of vision

Talk To Your Doctor

Your first step when diagnosed should be to talk with a retina specialist. They have the ability to recommend treatment schedules that will work best for you. An ophthalmologist may recommend the use of an Amsler grid to check your vision in each eye daily. This will help you to help keep track of any vision changes.

Neva Fairfield, a national aging and vision-loss specialist at the American Foundation for the Blind, also advises patients find vision rehabilitation service professionals (such as optometrists or ophthalmologists). They have more tools to help people maximize their remaining vision. These specialists are able to give patients glasses, bifocals, and optical aids that are specifically made for those dealing with wet AMD.

Workplace Modifications to Try

Choose Your Lighting Wisely: For some patients normal lighting, such as overhead lighting, is not enough. Add more lights in your workspace and you will notice a big difference.

Buy a Bigger Monitor: When it comes to your computer screen, size really does matter. Try out a few different sizes to see what works best for your vision needs.

Position Your Workspace Wisely: Be sure to have a workspace that allows for flexibility, you do not want to be stuck in one position for too long and create issues in your neck and back.

Practice Typing With Just Your Touch: If you are able to, practice typing without looking at your keyboard. Your eyes strain when you look at the characters, and if you are able to type without looking it will relieve your eyes. As a bonus, you can complete your work faster.

Magnifiers are a Good Tool: Don’t forget about magnifiers! These are a simple tool made to help low vision patients read books, computers, and televisions.

Use Low-Vision Settings: Accessibility services with books and on computers have improved to allow large print and color-coding systems to help you. Use these services to your advantage.

Accommodations are Key: According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, employers are entitled to give you “reasonable accommodations.” Talk to your employers about what this can look like for you.

Don’t Lose Hope

Being diagnosed with vision loss from wet age-related macular degeneration can feel like the end of your career, but there are tools and accommodations out there to help you. Research your condition, get in touch with other patients who have been diagnosed, and talk to your doctors.

“That’s the thing that so many people who are losing vision don’t realize. You might have to do it differently, but it’s still doable. There are very few jobs that with the right motivation, the right skills, and the right training a person with low vision or no vision can’t do.” –Neva  Fairfield

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