A woman holds up a giant magnifying glass to read a white paper in a flurry of colored papers all around her.

Colored Paper

I was diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration (MMD) in 2019. That was the beginning of my new way of living. I began learning about life living with this disease. Early lessons were pretty blunt. I “saw” what was not clearly seen.

How I adapt

The bleed from the early onset of this degeneration damaged my vision’s view. I now have a smudge of sorts obscuring my view just slightly to the left of my center vision. I also have a waviness to this view, comparable to the wacky fun-house mirrors prevalent at a circus. Giving everything a slightly altered state and clearly not funny.

A need for constantly turning on bright lights and overall acceptance of living with muted colors all around. These lessons are a constant in my day-to-day life. Aside from not driving after dark, I find I can manage. Not too horrible, just annoying as I navigate this life.

A respite

Early spring I had an occasion to join other women at a retreat. A time to get away, slow down, and refocus on what is truly important in life. This is a yearly event, one that I greatly looked forward to. The added bonus this year was the weather was perfect.

Our days centered around the quiet, no talking. There were approximately 35 other women there. The silence, while sounding daunting, this has a way of settling oneself. There were times of prayer, times for reflections and times for feasting. They also arrange times for what they call conferences. Studying scriptures and learning is always a time for growing. All of this in silence.

During these said conferences, the speakers (who obviously can talk!) have handouts so as to follow along with the given day's topic. It was during these conferences that my MMD raised its disgruntled head. These handouts they were sharing happened to be printed on an array of colored paper. Delightful colored paper, various colors of red, blue and green.

The dilemma

As I collected these various handouts, at first I had no thoughts about them. It was when I had settled down into my viewing seat and began to look at these handouts that I sighed. When you are dealing with myopic macular degeneration, the printed word on colored papers becomes a challenge. The letters, words and paragraphs tend to disappear. There is a fading effect that occurs.

I found if I held the paper just so, cocking my head a bit to the side and giving a bit of squint I could follow along. On days when the handouts were white I had a moment of personal rejoicing. Clarity at its best. So this became another lesson in MMD. It's a constant learning thing.

Should haves

I quite enjoyed this retreat, despite the handout challenges I experienced. Moving forward, as they say, I will try to educate the facilitators of these kinds of events. My Dad used to say, life is full of challenges and opportunities. I am going to take this challenge on and work to educate others.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.