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A gardener tends a thriving garden, pulling out weeds.

My Daily Life With Geographic Atrophy

My journey with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) began over 9 years ago. As I progressed from early-stage dry AMD to my current stage, geographic atrophy (GA) my life as I knew it has changed.

There have been many losses. Hobbies such as sewing and crochet were given up one by one.  Some with GA do manage to continue the hobbies they love; my frustration outweighed the pleasure of some of my hobbies. Nighttime driving or trips to the city are now impossible on my own.

I have realized that focusing on my losses was bad for my mental health. I needed to find a way to hang on to my joy in life by focusing on all the things I can do with low vision.

Holding on to my hobbies and discovering new ones

My favorite new hobby is gardening. Low vision makes it a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. As my husband's health has declined, I have taken over care of the lawn and mowing. To my surprise, I love being outdoors.

Reading is my favorite hobby. I refuse to allow low vision to rob me of reading. Thanks to accessibility features on my iPhone and iPad, I can enlarge the text or zoom in when needed. I listen to audiobooks occasionally.

I enjoy cooking, and low vision hasn’t stopped me. I use bump dots for appliance settings. I am gradually replacing my appliances with Wi-Fi-enabled ones. This allows me to use voice commands with my smart speaker. With accessibility features, I can still read recipes. I have the option to have recipes read aloud to me if necessary.

Advocacy and connecting with the community

The opportunity to write articles and moderate social media and our online community for MacularDegeneration.net is my new passion in life. I love using my experience with AMD to raise awareness and provide information for those with macular degeneration. It is not uncommon for me to get phone calls from someone newly diagnosed since I share my journey on Facebook.

Last week I had the opportunity to film a video for another site about my life with GA. The video highlights the aids I use to manage my vision loss. I shared how my faith and strong family support help me cope. It is fulfilling to know my experience with vision loss may help someone else with macular degeneration.

What I wish others knew

Macular degeneration is an invisible condition. There are few outward signs that we can’t see what others do. I wish people had a better understanding of what life is like for those of us with vision loss. 

If I ask for help with simple tasks, it’s because I simply cannot see. I can’t see which button to push on the elevator. I have trouble completing transactions on a keypad. I can’t see what you are pointing out to me. I may not recognize you if you are more than a few feet away.

I wish others knew our lives may be challenging, but we can live productive and meaningful lives. We just need a helping hand at times to overcome the challenges.

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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 MacularDegeneration.net 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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