An eye shaped box wrapped with a bow

Dear Santa, All I Want for Christmas

My days of making Christmas wish lists are long past. Christmas was always my favorite holiday. My family had very little money but Santa always managed to leave something under the tree for us.

My Christmas List

The passing decades have shifted my desire from toys to things that money can’t buy. My health tops that list. I am blessed with better-than-average health. My biggest health issue is intermediate-stage dry macular degeneration.

Here's my list for this year:

1. Research leading to new treatments

I hope for more treatment options for macular degeneration. I wish for a treatment option that doesn’t include eye injections. While many report little to no pain, countless others find them painful with discomfort lingering for more than a day.

And finally, I wish for what we all want, a cure. Gene therapy and or stem cell transplantation look promising and we all want it now!

2. Doctors with time to answer questions and provide easily understood information

One of the biggest complaints in the macular degeneration community centers around lack of time to ask questions during the visit. Often the doctor rushes in, looks at the latest scan, takes a brief look at our eyes, and rushes out again.

My doctor is usually great to answer questions. My last visit was so disappointing and I left feeling I had not been heard because of his rush.

3. Reading material with high contrast

Reading is a favorite hobby for many of us. Accessibility features have made reading easier but unfortunately not all apps support these features.

Before macular degeneration I loved reading magazines. The trend the past few years has been light gray print on a  white background. Those of us with macular degeneration need high contrast print. Santa, please tell the publishers to return to black type on white.

4. Public transportation for rural America

I live in southeast Oklahoma where we have no public transportation options. We are aware of Uber but that is not available either. I live 120 miles from the nearest retinal specialist.

Legally, I can still drive, but not in a city setting or with dilated eyes. I am blessed to have willing family to drive me to appointments. I am saddened for community members that lack a good support system.

5. Affordable vision aids

Compared to what was available when my mom was diagnosed with wet macular degeneration, there are many more vision aids available. Quality items are so expensive that many, myself included, cannot afford them. My doctor suggested a pair of special glasses for watching television but at $300 they are too expensive.

Counting my blessings

This short list is but a sample of what I wish for all of us with macular degeneration. For now, I am counting my many blessings. I have food on the table, a loving husband and family, and a close relationship with God.

I hope this holiday season brings joy into the lives of all our macular degeneration community.

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 geographic atrophy (GA).

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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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