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Looking Back to Being Newly Diagnosed

Last updated: June 2023

What happens when you get a new macular degeneration (AMD) diagnosis? Well, in a nutshell, it’s not going to be a good day! And that is an understatement!

A new AMD diagnosis

This is what happened to me: I simply went to my optometrist for a new pair of glasses. My optometrist discovered some concerns while doing my eye exams and referred me to a retina specialist (RS). It all went rapidly downhill from there!

What happened then? The RS told me I had wet AMD in my right eye and dry AMD in my left eye! Whoa!!! Personally, I did not know the first thing about AMD! I didn’t know if they were telling me I was going to go blind rapidly or slowly. My intuition was telling me that it was very bad news, but I clung to the hope that the eye doctors could cure me.

Learning about eye injections and vitamins

What then? The RS told me I was going to get injections in my wet eye. Oh, Lord! He was going to poke me in the eye with a needle, repeatedly, on a regularly scheduled basis, forever! Then, for the dry eye, he wanted me to take vitamins! Yep, vitamins!

What happened to the medicine (preferably in pill form) for my dry AMD? I sincerely thought these high-powered “super doctors” that went to med school for a gazillion years had more tools in their tool bag than vitamins? Goodness!

Later, after we become AMD veterans, we learn about the strategies of exercise, diet and nutrition, vitamins, supplements, and maintaining a healthier body mass index (BMI), etc. But sadly, as AMD rookies, we know none of this.

The emotions of the newly diagnosed

So where does that leave us now? Well, we go through a lot of anguish, worry, and dread. It’s a natural progression for the newly diagnosed. Actually, we go through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and ultimately acceptance.

Gradually, step by step, inch by inch, we will adapt to our “new normal” and learn coping skills and find the ever-elusive state of acceptance. It’s a long road to get there, I tell ya! But get there, you will, you simply have to!

Veteran of eye injections

It’s not easy to wrap your head around this! Let's face it – AMD is no fun! A new AMD diagnosis can make you scared of going legally blind! The mere mention of needing eye injections is mind-blowing!

I’ll just go ahead and admit, a part of me was very scared. But I'll tell you the truth, I've become tired of being scared! My mind can conjure up far worse scenarios than are actually happening to me. I guess you could say I'm past the ”rookie” stage of having AMD and I'm now a veteran at it.

Finding support for macular degeneration

Where do we go from here? The real question is: how do we get there? It’s through the passage of time and educating ourselves, as best we can. Through time and belonging to a fantastic support group like we have here, reading, participating, and asking questions.

It may not seem like it when you get a new macular degeneration diagnosis, but we do get there! Our group learns vicariously from each other, it’s the collective experiences of the group. I am so very glad we’ve found this group and we have each other to lean on and learn from. I wish us all well on our health journey.

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 the advanced stage of dry age-related macular degeneration, or 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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