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Senior man looking behind himself at an amsler grid

Is This Progression?

Everyone I know that has age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has a degree of fear of progression. Not only am I fearful I will have progression, I am fearful I may not recognize the signs if it happens.

Daily diligence

Like many others, I have the Amsler grid posted front and center of my refrigerator. Every day or so I intently stare at the grid hoping I will recognize a change if it occurs.

I know that sudden changes such as visual distortions or sudden loss of central vision should be reported to my doctor.  Just as troubling to me are the more subtle changes over time.

Subtle color changes

In the winter, my husband likes to feed birds. Recently he pointed out a tree full of Redbirds. I had no trouble seeing the tree or the birds but I did not see them as red.

I have the same problem seeing traffic signals when it is red. This is worse on older traffic lights where the lights have dimmed. Is this progression?

Wavy lines

For the past 2 years, I see wavy lines with my right eye when I look at the Amsler grid. Until recently, my left eye has fully compensated for the right. With both eyes open lines appeared straight.

Lately as I drive, I will look at a pole or other straight object and notice it looks bent. I blink and look again and it may appear straight once more. This is the scariest of all the changes to me.

Does it mean the right eye is progressing to the point the left can no longer compensate? I wonder if it’s okay to wait until my upcoming appointment or should I call now?

Blurry vision

Everything is a blur these days. That big 65” tv I bought last year is no longer clear from a few feet away. If I want to read the menu I stand right in front of the screen; reminiscent of childhood when we lay on the floor right in front of the tv.

Lately I have called out enthusiastic greetings to a friend at the grocery store. Too late, I realize it’s not someone I know. So I ask myself, is this progression or dry eyes which can also cause blurry vision?

Needing more light

I need more light to do my daily activities. Do I buy higher wattage bulbs or add additional light fixtures? Many lamps are made for lower watt bulbs.

I love to sew but I can’t read the display to change the stitch pattern. I have already installed a Led light strip and a gooseneck lamp next to my sewing machine. So I reach for my iPhone and the handy lighted magnifier app to change the setting.

I notice when I enter the house from outside on a sunny day that I can barely see where to walk. It takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust. So I wonder, is this need for more light related to the passing years or is the AMD progressing?

Conclusion

My regular 6 month checkup is next month. I have decided none of my vision changes warrant a call to the retinal specialist. I will definitely bring up the topic of vision changes with my doctor and ask, Is the macular degeneration progressing?

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