Person looking through binoculars with eagle in lenses

A Tree Too Far

I saw two bald eagles across the street a few days ago. 

They were sitting on the topmost branches of a very large pine tree, or perhaps its cedar. It’s too far away to tell. Branches that I wouldn’t have thought could support one bald eagle, let alone two.


That tree is at the back of the property, so if I hadn’t noticed one flying there, I would have missed them completely. I was wishing they had landed on the tree in the front yard. They’ve been around the area for quite a while, but usually alight on a tree further down the street. This one passed my window no more than 15 or 20 feet away, a little closer than normal, before settling on that thin branch.

I really do need to retrieve my binoculars from the car. Or, treat myself to another pair! I wish I had their eyesight, apparently, an eagle can see clearly about eight times as far as humans can.

Taking advantage of my smartphone

I quickly grabbed my phone, the iPhone 7 Plus, which has two cameras in it, one of the reasons I chose it. The normal 28mm wide-angle one plus a 56mm telephoto. Compared to the 200mm telephoto lens on the SLR camera, I used to use, it’s not a very long telephoto, but at least it’s there, always ready to go. I don’t need to be able to see any tiny settings to use it.

A snapshot in time

I managed to snap a couple of quick shots, then in the editing, zoomed in the maximum, losing a lot of resolution along the way. Of course, the electrical wires remained in focus as they’re just that much closer than the tree. That bit of crookedness in them is the same as what I see on the Amsler grid. But at least it gives me a distance to judge how far I can push the telephoto.

The trouble with resolution and AMD

I realized as I did this, that looking at the loss of resolution was a bit like trying to focus on a page. With that barely-there translucent grey cloud just below the midline caused by my macular degeneration. I’m very lucky that it’s only in my “dry” right eye. The left, with its choroidal neovascularization, is still quite good, with the injections doing the job they’re supposed to do. I can still see through that grey cloud, thank goodness, and I think the left eye fills in any foggy areas.

Paying attention to my vision

I remain on the alert for changes in both eyes, using the Amsler grid, along with the vision tests every 7 or 8 weeks when I go for my injection. Always thinking of Sue’s story, "The Beginning of the End of My Vision," where she closed one eye while she was driving and the car in front of her disappeared!

Albums full of photos

I checked the photos app on my phone, where I discovered just under 4000 photos! Trying to pare that down will be my next rainy day job. But those fuzzy eagles will remain, at least until they decide to land in the closest tree. Thank goodness all my photos are saved in the cloud.

These are the pictures I’ll have in my mind’s eye if I reach the more advanced stages of this sight stealing disease.

Editor's Note: As of August 2023, 2 drugs known as complement inhibitors — Syfovre® and Izervay™ — have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the advanced stage of dry age-related macular degeneration, or geographic atrophy (GA).

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