Making Adjustments for Macular Degeneration

We all know the downsides of macular degeneration — the blurred vision, the darkness, and the insidious nature of the slow progression of an incurable disease. In fact, it’s very easy to get so entrenched in all the research, reports, and stories to the point that it almost becomes all we think about — day in and day out. I have found another way to see that I would like to share.

Adjustments I've made for my AMD

Many of us have already made adjustments as a result of the progression of our age-related macular degeneration (AMD). At the intermediate stage of dry AMD, I have stopped driving at night, I no longer draw portraits, and I begrudgingly get pedicures now because it’s too hard to see my toenails.

I’m unsure what’s going to happen when I take the required eye exam to renew my driver’s license in a few months, which will be a huge adjustment for me if I can no longer drive. Already, friends understand and offer to drive after I explain the difficulty I have driving in unfamiliar places. I find people want to help once they’re informed! We all have things we have given up. Indeed, there are many adjustments to make for AMD.

Consulting our other senses

We have our 5 senses — hearing, taste, touch, smell, and of course, sight. The amazing thing that occurs, which you may have already noticed, is how the other senses can compensate when one sense is weakened.

I noticed this phenomenon at the beach recently. With my eyes closed, all my other senses took over — the sound of the ocean waves caressing the sand, the smell of the sea air, the taste of salt water on my lips, the feel of the sea breeze through my hair. It was like the experience was heightened more by closing my eyes. It struck me how often we close our eyes to feel more deeply. All these senses are outward, physical sensations.

A dramatic shift in perspective

After feeling these physical senses, what we do with that sensory information and how we process it is entirely our choice. The realization that I can see AMD differently was a turning point for me.

When I made the dramatic shift to see it differently, I realized there’s more to life than identifying solely with macular degeneration — MUCH more! Who I truly am on the inside far surpasses my physical senses.

A daily practice of meditation and self-reflection has eased the way for me. However, there are many other forms, such as yoga, prayer, silent contemplation, calm music, or writing — whatever resonates with you. Any practice that allows your mind to be calm and at peace with whatever you’re experiencing is the ultimate goal. We are the ones who give it meaning. Much like we train our bodies with exercise, we can also "exercise our minds" to be more resilient, adaptable, and strong. This shift is critical for peace of mind.

Consistency is key when training the mind

Rather than thinking in terms of the sacrifices we make for AMD, choose instead to sacrifice the emotional pain, dis-ease, and anxiety that often accompany an AMD diagnosis. Sound easier said than done? Possibly!

Without a daily practice of gratitude and contemplation, it is difficult indeed, but totally possible. And so worth it when we make the commitment to shift our perspective by incorporating a form of "mind training."

Choose any format to try and practice daily — consistency is truly the key! Who knows — you may lose your (current) mind, and maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe there’s a different, better way to look at AMD!

Let your 'inner vision' guide you

Remember: Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. It’s a choice that occurs in the mind, over which you have complete control.

When you lose your sight, you CAN gain deeper insight. We’re not just losing — we’re also gaining!

Allow your inner vision to be your guide — not your outer vision!

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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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