My Reasons for Hope
I developed dry macular degeneration 9 years ago. It was found in the early stages, so initially I wasn’t too concerned. My mom and sister both had wet macular degeneration, requiring injections, so I considered myself fortunate.
As time passed, I learned that dry macular degeneration can cause vision loss just as wet macular degeneration does.
I refuse to dwell on the 'what ifs'
My sister has been getting injections for more than 10 years. Her vision is still quite good. As my left eye is showing signs of atrophy, my vision has declined to the point that it impacts most aspects of my life. I have given up many of my beloved hobbies, including sewing and crochet. Thankfully, with the accessibility features of my iPad, I can continue reading.
My vision loss is a concern, but I refuse to dwell on the "what ifs." What if I can’t drive or maintain my home and yard?
Instead, I choose to be hopeful for my future. You may be wondering why I have hope. Let me explain.
'Game changers' for wet AMD
Up until just 20 short years ago, those with wet macular degeneration had few treatment options. The first anti-VEGF medication was developed in 2004. In the next 2 decades, several new medications were approved, and clinical efficacy continued to improve. Researchers continued to test the efficacy of new drugs and varied treatment intervals.1
In early 2022, Vabysmo was approved for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It has been a game changer for many. Vabysmo has resulted in improvement in vision for some. Best of all, the time between injections may extend to 4 months after a series of injections.2
New treatments for dry AMD
For those of us with dry macular degeneration, treatment options were still scarce for many years. Our only hope was slowing down progression with things like taking AREDS and AREDS2 eye supplements and making lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes included smoking cessation, a Mediterranean diet, regular exercise, and wearing sunglasses.
Then, in 2023, 2 drugs known as complement inhibitors — Syfovre® and Izervay™ — were approved for the treatment of geographic atrophy, an advanced form of dry AMD.3
Why I remain hopeful
So why am I hopeful? Knowing how quickly advancements were made in the treatment of wet macular degeneration, I am hopeful new treatment options will follow for other types and stages of AMD. I am hopeful for more treatment options for those in the earlier stages of AMD before significant vision loss occurs.
The most important factor for me in staying hopeful is my faith in God. Reading the Bible and prayer calms my fears. Loving others is a tenet of my faith. Through helping others, I can forget about my own problems while I focus on helping others.
Sharing my story to give others hope
Working as a Community Health Leader for the MacularDegeneration.net community allows me to help others. By sharing information on our website and social media, I get an opportunity to answer questions and provide support.
I hope sharing my story gives others a reason to be hopeful about their future with macular degeneration.
Have you introduced yourself to the community yet?