I Have Macular Degeneration…Now What?

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Where can I quickly find information about AMD?

One of the best resources available is from the Prevent Blindness organization’s website called Guide Me.  You answer a few questions and you will get a personalized guide with important aspects of AMD based on your answers.  Click here to go to Guide Me.

What other websites are helpful?

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Click here for a video that covers important information about AMD
  • Click here for a description of dry vs. wet AMD (we are not recommending any products in this article)
  • Click here for an article about depression after diagnosis (which is common)
  • Click here for some answers to common questions about depression after diagnosis
  • Click here for an article about how vision rehabilitation helps prevent long-term depression
  • Click here for a very comprehensive page about wet AMD
  • Click here for a very comprehensive page about dry AMD
  • Click here for an article about how fast AMD progresses
  • Click here for 10 questions to ask your doctor
  • Click here to find a support group
  • Click here to find out should I take the AREDS or AREDS2 supplements?
  • Click here read about the role of nutrition in AMD
  • Click here for eye healthy foods including a Healthy Vision Grocery List
  • Click here for a January 2017 scientific review article“Nutritional and Lifestyle Interventions for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Review”
  • Click here to find out what vision changes/symptoms to look for
  • Click here to find out about the people who can help you (what are the differences between the types of eye doctors, do I need to see a specialist, etc)
  • Click here for tips on how to make the most of the vision you have
  • Click here for a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that answers a long list of questions such as ‘will resting help my eyes?’, ‘Can I see for myself if my retina or macula shows any signs of damage before I have symptoms?’, ‘why don’t new eye glasses help?’, ‘what is meant by degeneration?’, ‘is a macular hole the same as macular degeneration’, ‘I have had dry MD for years. Does this mean I’m going to get wet MD too?’, ‘No one else in my family has MD. Why did I get it?’, ‘can drusen be treated?’, ‘I have changes on the Amsler Grid, does this mean I have MD’, ‘I have Wet MD but my Doctor says there is nothing he can do or no treatment available. Why is this?’

Where can I do more research?

Of course you can do searches on the Internet – there is a LOT of information there.  We have done a lot of research and here’s how you can find it.

  • through Sue’s Journal Pages. Sue became visually impaired early in 2016.  She is a psychologist trained in Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), a cognitive behavioral therapy, and she writes about how she is using it to help her cope with this vision loss.
  • on our Resource page where there are links to many sources of information such as what is AMD, what is Stargardt’s Disease, organizations and websites with useful information, support groups, videos, books & reading materials, where to find vision services, where to find financial help especially for injections, personal stories, the science stuff, clinical trials & research (and how you can become part of one,  online newsletters, symptoms, possible causes/contributing factors, treatments, coping, how to take care of yourself…and more!
  • and in the posts in News/Highlights blog

There are more ways to get information from our website

Search or select CategoryYou can actually do research ON OUR WEBSITE!  You can find things such as in which of Sue’s journal pages does she talk about depression, where can I get more information about sunglasses or vitamins, etc.  If you are using a computer, for example a laptop, you may have seen the search box plus words under Categories and words under Tags/Keywords on the right side of each page. If you use a tablet or smartphone & the screen isn’t wide enough, unfortunately you have to go all the way down to the end of each page to see these sections.

Do you want to know in which pages Sue talks about depression? You can type the word depression (you can also type multiple words) in the search box or select the word depression under Tags/Keywords and you’ll get all of her pages where she talks about it plus you will get any of the News/Highlights posts as well as any matches in the Resources/Links or News/Highlights pages, too. If you want to find everything on our site about sunglasses, you could type the word into the search box or look for the word under Tags/Keywords and select it.

Tags/KeywordsIf you want a broader range of pages & posts such as ‘Tips for living with low vision’, you’ll see that under Categories.

 

 

 

 

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I’ve set up this page so that when you click on a link (words that are underlined & in blue or green), a NEW tab will open in your browser and this page STAYS WHERE IT IS.  When you are done with the new page you opened, just close it.  You do NOT need to use the back option.  If you click on a link and the new page replaces this one, I’VE MADE A MISTAKE so please let me know by sending me an email at light2sight5153@gmail.com.  Let me know exactly which link or links do not open a new tab or window.

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Linda & her dog Chase
Linda & her dog Chase

To find about more about me, about Sue, about our project, go to the menu at the top of the page for sections about each of those.

 

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Video: Overview of Assistive Technology for People with Low Vision

A great overview of the types of computer and non-computer devices available for those with low vision.

 

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Taxman

[For those of you who don’t know, the title is an homage to the Beatles 1966 song Taxman.]

Let me preface this with another disclaimer: I am not an accountant. I know next to nothing – that is zero, not a thing, nada – about taxes. I am writing this as a heads-up for people because, frankly, I had not given this a lot of thought and I bet some of you have not given it a lot of thought either.

Disclaimer: I am not an accountant and I know nothing about taxes. This is just a heads-up.

So, heads up! As my friend the accountant reminds me, it is tax season! That friend as well as the accountant who does our taxes both mentioned to me a little vein of silver in this gray cloud of visual impairment.

There are tax breaks for the visually impaired.

Click here for more information on the tax breaks for disabled taxpayers. This is an IRS document called Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities.

Before I get into what I have learned with limited research on the web, I would encourage you to get help from a professional or at least someone who hopes someday to be a professional. I googled ‘free tax preparation for the visually impaired’ and I found the IRS webpage Free Tax Return Preparation. With any luck you should be able to find free tax help in your area. Within five miles I can get free help from accounting students at the local college. Within 25 miles there are seven places I can get free help with my taxes.

I would encourage you to get help from a professional, or at least someone who hopes someday to be a professional. The IRS has a webpage where you should be able to find free tax preparation in your area.

Reminder: I know nothing. Check it out for yourself on the websites I am expecting Lin will link to this post. Go to a professional. What I THINK I discovered in my browsing this morning is that taxpayers who are ‘blind’ are able to claim a higher standard deduction. This can be without itemizing.

Here is a YouTube video where you can listen to Lex the Service Dog tell you about the IRS accessibility features.  He speaks while signing with ASL and you can turn on closed captions.

Click here for the IRS list of their accessible forms & publications such as forms & how-to videos.

Those of us who are working can itemize and claim expenses that are directly linked to materials and services that are needed to keep us working in light of our visual impairment. I am talking about ‘toys’ (see previous post) as well as things like a driver or transportation service.

Click here for the IRS 2015 Publication for Medical and Dental Expenses.  A quick search shows that you can deduct medical expenses for things such as guide dogs/other service animal (buying, training & maintaining) and Braille books & magazines. Also, check out the section Impairment-Related Work Expenses.  You may be able to deduct the cost of the ‘toys’ you use for work.

Those of us who are not visually impaired but have a visually impaired spouse or other dependent may also qualify for a tax break. For example, if your spouse is paying for someone to come in the afternoon and make your lunch because you are not able to do it yourself, that could be a deduction.  You’ll find it in the documents we’ve referred you to under Child or Dependent Care Credit.

If you have a visually impaired child or spouse, you may qualify for a tax break called Child or Dependent Care Credit.

The budgeting.thenest.com website mentions, of course, basic medical expenses as being deductible. The site also mentions things like the difference in cost between standard print magazines and those same magazines in Braille. It does not say anything about large print magazines and books but I suspect a case could be made for those.

In short, heads up! Check it out. Get free help if you are unable to navigate it all yourself. There are some tax bennies for being visually impaired.

Continue reading “Taxman”

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News: The App That Helps Blind People See

3/21/2016 A video & article about an app called Aipoly Vision which has been tested for object identification.  That means the person points their iPhone or iPad at an object and they will hear the name of it if it’s in the database of 1,000 objects (they’re working to expand that to 5,000 objects).  It uses the iPhone’s built-in accessibility functions.

Click here to learn more about this.  It also talks about another app to read text such as restaurant menus.

The Aipoly Vision app is free from the App Store or iTunes.

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Highlight: Patient monitors vision at home & results are sent to the doctor

Feb. 2016

Here’s a Press Release from Notal Vision, Inc., announcing that Medicare will pay for their ForseeHome telemonitoring system for patients who have dry AMD and who are at a high risk for it developing into wet AMD.

The ForseeHome system allows the patient to test their vision daily at home & the results are sent to their retina specialist for monitoring.

Click here to read more about the product.

Here’s a video showing how it works: ForseeHome AMD monitoring

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