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Back to Basics

"My writing well has run dry," I moaned to my husband. "After almost 5 years into living with my diagnosis of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and 4 years writing about it, what new is there for me to say?"

He looked up from his newspaper (yes, some people still read newspapers). "How about going back to the basics? You know, the stuff you do now that you didn’t do or know then?"

Sometimes he has good ideas.

Getting your AMD questions answered is a great source of information and support. You can use it to prepare for the visit with your retina specialist. Health Leaders and members in the Community’s forums understand what you’re dealing with. They are always ready to listen and share their experiences.

Note: Because we all forget, write down your list of questions and concerns before your doctor’s visit. Keep pushing to get the answers you need.

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Wearing proper sun protection

Sun exposure is hard on your eyes. Glare can be a special issue for people with AMD — like the glare of a super bright Florida sun and the glare from the headlights of an oncoming car.

I’ve become a dutiful user of sunscreen, and I never go out without really good sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Interesting that my AMD has made me more aware of the risks of skin cancer. By the way, these sun protection tips also apply in the north, not just the Sunbelt.

More fruits, vegetables, and fish

Five a day. That means five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. If I don’t do a fruit smoothie in the morning, I work in a veggie-loaded salad at lunch, fruit for a snack, and 2 vegetables at dinner.

My husband thinks rice is a vegetable. It is not. Potatoes are, but French fries? Rarely. Oh, and low-fat dairy things... although I do love real cheese.

My goal is to have fish (mostly salmon or tuna) 3 days a week. I’d like to say that tofu is big in our house (good source of protein), but it is not.

Stretching and exercising

I know, I know. Get out and walk. Do weight training. At some point, we can all say that we’re too old or too tired or something to get up and start moving (if you aren’t already).

My last doctor’s visit showed that my cholesterol was creeping up, and my B12 and Vitamin D levels were too low. I was too close to being pre-diabetic for comfort.

I set a goal to go to the small gym in our community 3 days a week. So far, so good. I use the recumbent bike to raise my heart rate and protect my back. I went back to a series of stretches and other exercises. I have no idea if my numbers have improved. My jeans are a bit looser and I have a waist.

Success in sticking to the gym schedule has given me the incentive to do a better job of eating healthfully.

Support from loved ones

The more support you have, the easier it is to deal with the changes in your vision. Tell people about it. Ask for their support. They need to know why you use a flashlight to read the menu in a dark restaurant or won’t drive at night. Our bodies change as we get older. It is not a crime and it is not a sin.

Basic stuff, right? Simply writing this has given me new incentive for sticking to what I know is good for my sight. Off to the gym.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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