The AMD Lifestyle: Attitude
“What can I do to slow down the progression of AMD?”
Continued from The AMD Lifestyle: Stress Reduction
Staying positive with vision loss
In part 1, I shared the definition of lifestyle as, “the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.” I’ve written about the AMD lifestyle habits building blocks of good nutrition, sufficient exercise and management of stress. It’s time to talk about the AMD lifestyle attitude building block: Be optimistic and hopeful!
Are there reasons to be optimistic?
You bet there is! Some people might first talk about all the research going on, but I want to start with what we have NOW to help those with AMD and those with vision loss from it. Here’s just some of what I’ve discovered in my these 3 years of helping those with AMD:
Accessibility and transportation resources
- Options for transportation including Uber, Lyft, subsidized regional transportation systems, and more. A site called Rides in Sight provides options in your area.
- Options for reading which include large print, audiobooks, e-books. There are also services where you can get audio access to state, national and international newspapers, magazines, emergency weather alerts, job listings and much more! The National Federation of the Blind has a free audio news service called NFB-NEWSLINE that provides these materials in more accessible formats.
- Computers, tablets, smart phones have built-in accessibility features and apps.
- Voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo, or Alexa, can help you access much of what you can by typing at a keyboard! Use them to make your home a ‘smart home.’
- Smart glasses and goggles that can help the wearer ‘see’ the world around them through magnification, interpreting colors and UPC codes of products, convert text-to-speech and more. There are innovations every day in this area including the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to enhance and fill in missing parts of the visual field.
A website called Cool Blind Tech keeps up with the fast-changing field of technology for the blind and visually impaired.
Macular degeneration support
- Organizations for those with AMD and low vision. These organizations not only have websites, Facebook pages and groups, but also offices in many locations around the world for information and support.
- Low vision specialists who help people find the right magnifiers, glasses and other low vision aids.
- Rehabilitation therapists who train people to use the various low vision aids, how to move around safely in their environment and how to adapt their homes.
To find these organizations, low vision specialists and rehabilitation therapists in your area, you can check out Vision Related Websites.
Last but CERTAINLY not least, there are places like Health Union where people who share the same health challenges can meet, ask questions, get support and learn how to manage the disease to create your “new normal” life.
There are many definitions of ‘hope’. This is the one I like the best, “Hope is the belief that circumstances in the future will be better.” Living "The AMD Lifestyle means" that you believe that no matter what happens with your vision in the future - be it tomorrow, a month, a year, 10 years – circumstances will be better because:
- You have chosen to adopt a lifestyle that is healthy for both the body and the mind.
- You are willing to learn new ways of doing things using all of the many resources available to you.
- You live in a time when the research in AMD is moving forward to restore vision through the uses of gene therapy and stem cells and ‘bionic’ eyes. There will be better treatments for wet AMD with implants to lengthen the time between injections and then there will be eye drops. For dry AMD, there will be treatments to prevent it from progressing to advanced AMD.
- And finally, maybe not for us, but for our children and grandchildren there will come a cure!
Choose hope! Live the AMD Lifestyle!
Are you aware of assistive technology for AMD?