Coping with Vision Loss – restoring or exceeding your previous life
If you’re visiting my site, I suspect that your life has been touched by vision loss – whether you are experiencing it personally or if someone close to you is experiencing it. Potentially devastating initially, vision loss does not have to be the end of meaningful life. It is my hope to ease your path forward, curing with words what I cannot physically cure through medicine.
The good news is that you can restore your quality of life despite losing some or all of your vision. I have met many people who have been an inspiration to me after losing their vision.
I want to start off by sharing two stories, which will hopefully establish my credentials. I’m not a licensed professional in vision care but I have very relevant personal experience. My first story involves the miracle of Lasik eye surgery:
I have experienced Lasik eye surgery and yes, I do consider it a miracle. I first needed glasses in seventh grade. By the time I graduated college, my vision had deteriorated to 20/400 in both eyes. (In order to establish a frame of reference, that meant I couldn’t see the E at the top of the eye chart when I went to the eye doctor.) My wife knew I couldn’t see well, but didn’t realize the severity of my repercussions until an incident at the beach. My daughters and wife were exiting the ocean ahead of me one day. When I finally returned ashore, I walked up to the midpoint of the beach and began walking to my right. When I reached my family’s umbrella, my wife asked what I was doing. I told her the truth. I couldn’t see my family at all but knew we were about halfway up the beach. I told them I figured I’d eventually walk close enough to see them. Physically blind, but fortunate that my vision was fully correctable. If you’re reading this book, correction is probably no longer an option.
My second story involves a family member, a very close one at that. In the mid-1990’s, my mom called to tell me that she had macular degeneration. I had no idea what this meant, although I was rather sure that degeneration wasn’t a good thing. Her degeneration initially affected one eye, but in the space of a few weeks, she had lost much of the functional central vision in that eye. (Macular degeneration causes loss of central, but not peripheral, vision.) My mom was widowed and living independently in Florida. As an only child, I knew that much of the care-giving would have to be provided by my wife and me, if her second eye was affected. We prepared ourselves for that next call, which came five years later. My mom had continued to work and live independently with one eye, but we knew she’d need our assistance now that she had lost central vision in both eyes. When she arrived in Pennsylvania, she was frightened and very limited in her activities.
Before the journey ended, my mom’s independence was restored, and she even traveled outside of the US for the first time in her life. These accomplishments were made possible through a marvelous local organization, the Montgomery County Association for the Blind. Similar organizations are available in most areas, and I would highly recommend reaching out to one of them as the trained professionals can be invaluable in restoring independence and confidence.
Do you want to learn more? Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can help you – I’ve been there!