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The same woman wearing a backpack is shown in two different scenarios on a split screen - looking nervously at a winding trail on a map, and walking confidently down a flat nature path with trekking poles.

Perspective and Perception with Macular Degeneration

March of 2019 was the beginning of my new way of living. That is, of course, when I found out I was living with myopic degeneration. There had been signs a few years prior, signs I did not heed (as I discovered - and now regret).

Constantly struggling with the right lighting to be able to read comfortably was one sign. Nighttime driving was slowly becoming more and more uncomfortable. I just could not see clearly, both in my immediate surroundings and in the case of my vision health.

That hidden trail of breadcrumbs was showing me the path of things to come all along, and I had no idea until it was almost too late.

The “Ah-ha” moment

When it became obvious that something was amiss, other than loss of vision due to age, when the wavy lines and cloudy vision appeared, I knew there was more to this story. The proper diagnosis reaffirmed my suspicion, and the "ah-ha!" moment made itself known. The lifetime of extreme nearsightedness directed me to where I am at this time, and then the curtain was pulled back.

The awareness of just what was wrong is somewhat reassuring after all. Not that I am glad I have this diagnosis, but that it had a name and there are resources to work through it and hopefully maintain my current vision.

Day-to-day

I do not have a lot to complain about with regards to where my vision is. I can do almost anything I need or want to do. Oh, but night driving, nope, avoid that most times, but I always have.

I spend my time reading and creating art, be it painting or drawing. I enjoy walks and am in the process of rediscovering yoga and stationary bike riding. There is the love of cooking and baking that I have always enjoyed (and passed on to my children). And, of course, the deliciousness of eating my creations as well.

My days are filled, and I can honestly say all is well.

The challenges

Lately, I have started to see some challenges in those day-to-day activities. I am starting to be very cautious with my steps when doing simple things like hiking or walking. What I see to step over or down may not actually be as true as it appears. With regards to my art, I have added more lighting to my workspace that in years past would have been overkill.

Recently I was cooking and what I saw when I went to strain the pineapples from the juice was almost disastrous. The small strainer was clearly upside down, but not clear to me. Not anything super frightening - just gives pause, to take a minute and discover how this new world is coming together.

It is all about perspective and perception

My perception of any given thing is clearly my ability to see it, hear it, or to be aware of something. When you take away a part of the ability to see any given thing, it presents challenges, and your perception can change entirely.

Side note: Just to make things interesting, of course, I also wear hearing aids. Adding another complication on top of that can always mess with your perception of any situation as well. Using one’s senses is how we navigate through our day, and I am juggling issues with two out of five. Not a great fraction.

Perspective, for me, relates to the attempts to give the right impression of height, width, depth, and position in regards to the world around me. It can be something as immaterial as a particular attitude towards a task or a way of regarding something: a point of view.

In other words, struggling with poor vision while trying to navigate the world and create art as I once did can hamper my perspective of any given task. Frustrations can arise easily while I struggle to keep the world easily perceived and my art aesthetically accurate.

My view

These are my views presently, my look out of the world from my little world. More lighting, be it at my art space or in the kitchen. Walking sticks for hiking and slowing down the pace to ensure safety. It also entails relinquishing my night driving to a husband that really does not mind it. All things considered, not such a bad view after all.

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