What You Can Do For Your Eyes While Your Treatments Are On Hold
One of the newly recognized effects of stay at home orders during a pandemic is having to cancel, reschedule, and worryingly wait for pushed out doctor visits. For months, many of us here in our MacularDegeneration.net community have been waiting on routine visits, injections, and surgeries at our retina specialists' offices.
Keeping eyes healthy in uncertain times
We know that early detection and early intervention are key when it comes to vision preservation, but is there anything we can do while we wait for the chance to see our doctors again? The answer is yes! There are still many things we can do to help keep our eyes as healthy as possible in the very uncomfortable timeframe known as ‘the meantime.’
Stay in touch with your eye doctor
Some doctors' offices are only seeing emergency patients while others are seeing a limited number of patients for injections and routine visits, but at a lower capacity.
Changing vision or sudden symptoms?
If you’re having alarming symptoms or changes in your vision, you shouldn’t assume that you won’t be able to get an appointment. You should at least be able to call in to talk to the office staff to see if an emergency appointment is needed. Besides that, many ophthalmologists and retina specialists are starting to open back up as our states each go through their own phases of reopening.
Schedule an appointment as soon as possible
It is great news that doctors are opening back up for their patients, but it's important to remember that it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy to get right in for an appointment. Many people have been waiting a long time for these appointment slots. If you haven’t yet been contacted by your doctor’s office with a rescheduled appointment, it may be a good idea to call in and ask for one yourself.
Each doctor's office may have it's own precautions
Note that your doctor’s office will most likely reopen with precautions in place to help keep everyone healthy. Keep in touch with them to be sure you know their new policies and can take all precautions in order to not miss a scheduled appointment.
Use your Amsler Grid
Using your Amsler Grid daily is a quick and easy way to be sure you’re not experiencing sudden or severe vision changes. I know that when I use my Amsler Grid and don’t notice changes, I’m able to put my mind more at ease. If I do notice changes, that is a sure sign that I need to make an appointment to get things checked out.
Focus on nutrition
Eating well and supplementing your diet with right-for-you vitamins is one simple way to keep your eyes as healthy as possible and give them a fighting chance to...ummm...keep working as long as possible. Plus, as a bonus, being home more is a great time to learn how to cook delicious and nutritious meals! We have some wonderful resources here for you at MacularDegeneraton.net.
Exercise for healthy eyes
Exercising keeps our bodies in tip-top shape and allows them to properly digest and absorb the nutrients we feed them. You don’t have to join a gym in order to exercise. Some of my favorite daily workouts are going on walks with my children and dog, gardening, or bike riding around our local park. I also love a good productive exercise like mowing the lawn or power spraying the grime off of my sidewalks.
Be sure to wear protective eyewear when outside no matter what season or weather. It’s always a good idea to block harmful UVA and UVB rays to keep your eyes as healthy as possible.
This one might sound simplistic, but it’s more important than you’d think. Sleep allows our bodies to rest, rejuvenate, and properly absorb nutrients. It’s also key to proper mental and emotional health. A lack of sleep can cause a domino effect of issues like irritability, food cravings that aren’t so healthy, and lack of motivation to exercise.
Take care of your mental health
A diagnosis of macular degeneration coupled with the worries about all the difficult and scary things going on in the world today is a recipe for disaster without proper mental health care. There are many things you can do to keep up with your emotional well being from home like meditation, mindfulness, exercise (another benefit of staying active), and even therapy. I’ve been seeing my therapist via video chat since early March and it is a wonderful alternative to in-person therapy for the time being.
Tell your story
Talking with others about common health issues is a great way to feel heard and understood. Here at MacularDegeneration.net, we are bound to have other members going through the same things you are. Oftentimes, just letting something out that’s been bothering you...to someone who understands...can feel so cathartic and healing.
Do what you can,
Do you find it easy to advocate for yourself?