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Community Views: I Knew it was Time to Visit the Eye Doctor When...

Some of the early signs of macular degeneration may be very subtle, a gradual progression we may not notice. Until sadly we do and hope it’s not too late. Until the day we realize there may be something going on with our vision. Then it may be a shock or a known but hopefully distant possibility.

Questions for the community

We recently asked our community members when they knew it was time to see their eye doctor. What prompted them to go? Their responses give us an understanding of where we are and in which direction we could place more importance. Are we placing enough emphasis on all symptoms? Including the subtle ones? Or are our community members coming here only after their diagnosis?

We had a variety of responses. All quite interesting.


One which saddened me to read was a parent who said: “I was trying to take a picture of my then 2-year-old son and I noticed issues with my vision in my left eye. That was 33 years ago.” This shouldn’t happen to a young parent.

Like me, some of you knew it was time for new glasses, not expecting to have anything more serious than a new prescription. I was not surprised at either the first diagnosis of early macular degeneration or the diagnosis of the advanced neovascular (wet) form 12 years later.

A common impetus to get a vision check was the necessity to renew a driver's license. It was the start of injections and cataract surgery for one of our members whose vision then improved enough to keep the license!

Prompted by blind spots and wavy lines

Another individual commented: “I walked into work, switched on my computer, and realized I couldn't make out any words in the centre of my screen. I had been fine the day before. Happened so quickly for me.”

“Blind spot and curvy lines.” “When the white lines on the highway became squiggly instead of straight” were two comments I think we can all relate to. Another spoke of noticing the distortion in the Venetian blinds. As long as we use something to keep an eye out for any changes in our vision.

Wavy lines on the Amsler grid were enough to send some of our members to their doctors. Seeing double or seeing colours where there aren’t any were two of the less common symptoms mentioned.

Unusual circumstances

One member even found their macular degeneration by accident. An actual accident that led to treatment, during which it was discovered.

One member had more than one indication that it was time to have an eye exam. They noticed a very large floater, as well as this: “watching TV and eyes itched, while rubbing one, the vision in the other, the actors faces appeared to melt.” I can relate to this one. I’ve lately described it as the news anchor’s mouth and chin were behind a fog. Others also commented on seeing this blurry grey circle.

Have you noticed changes in your vision?

Have any of these statements made you think about something you’ve noticed? Maybe as a reminder to make an appointment? Do you have any not listed here?

Our community members help each other. It’s like having both your grandmother and the old-fashioned family doctor in your back pocket.

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