A person writing a letter to their younger self. They are in various stages of address ending at a mailbox to themself.

A Letter to My Younger Self

Wouldn’t it be interesting, maybe even amazing, if we could rewind this lifetime of ours and have a better idea and understanding of what living with macular degeneration would be? The younger me could have made some better choices and not been caught unaware of the changes that were to come. Given the opportunity to do so would have been enlightening. This is what I would have said to "Younger Me."

Don't worry about what other people think

Dear Younger Me,

a white envelope on a green background

I know those yearly eye exams are daunting, eyeballing those charts (see what I did there?!) knowing full well that you cannot really see as well as other people. I will tell you to try to appreciate the world of modern medicine that affords the invention of glasses, no matter how thick and overbearing those coke-bottle lenses are — and year after year bringing yet again a stronger prescription, always striving to improve the nearsightedness and astigmatism that I have. Do not worry so much about what other people (kids) are saying about those said glasses. They honestly do not know better.

Protect your eyes

It is too bad that you did not feel it necessary to protect those eyes. The dire warnings about too much sun exposure is actually very true. Please wear hats and sunglasses to block out some of those rays. You can potentially help those eyes. I know that you are thrilled to graduate to contact lenses; the wearing of contacts alone will make sun protection that much easier.

a hand writing a letter on a navy blue background

Younger Me, listen a little more closely when there is talk of a chance of developing macular degeneration. The head-in-the-sand approach is not often the best means of defense. Research a bit earlier on the benefits of better nutrition to enhance healthier eyes. The approach of "that will not happen to me" can come back to haunt you.

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An envelope with a quote inside the letter says, “You are the same person, just with continuing vision challenges.”

Learn as much as you can about macular degeneration

Younger Me, it is really necessary to be very aware of your eye health. The year that the cataracts made their appearance known, I needed to educate myself on this condition. Learn as much as you can. Knowledge is power, they say. When you discover in the coming years that there is yet again an eye issue, do not be afraid. Continue to educate yourself. Place yourself in the hand of a good retina specialist.

a letter in an envelope on a green background

Lean on your support system

Lean on family and friends for support along the way. When the diagnosis of myopic macular degeneration is given, take a minute to absorb it. Learn all you can about the course of this disease and the treatments available. Do not let MMD become you. You are the same person, just with continuing vision challenges.

The "Older You" has lived the past 4 years of being diagnosed with MMD knowing there will be challenges. I also know that I am doing quite well, and that you will be too.

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