Fairy Tales

The more you talk (and moan and complain and lecture) about AMD, the more people you find who have it. I guess that is the power of advertising.

Anyway, today one of the teachers sat down across from me at lunch. She had just been diagnosed with dry AMD. Her optometrist told her that her eye was ‘drying out’. What the hell????? [Lin/Linda: with wet AMD, there can be a ‘drying out’ especially after injections but not with dry AMD.]

In my usual ‘understated’ and ‘subtle’ fashion I told her either he did not know what he was talking about or he had given her the ‘idiot’ explanation. Really.

Nothing ‘dries out’ in AMD. Old. Yeah. Visually impaired. Yep. Stupid? No. We really can handle more than the fairy tale explanations.

I put her on to this kickass website I know ?. She is an intelligent woman and can handle ‘real’ information!

Another thing she said was that she had noticed my eyesight had gotten ‘better’. Like I said, her doctor had obviously given her the fairy tale version of AMD because we all know there ain’t nuthin’ getting better about it!

It made me wonder, though. What exactly had she noticed? I know several of my doctors had said performance on an eye chart will ‘improve’ because patients memorize the chart. See the thing 600 times and you almost can’t help but memorize it. Maybe they should have A and B versions? But I digress… Is it possible she has seen an improvement in my functional vision? You always hear practice makes perfect. Have I been becoming a more ‘perfect’ visually impaired person?

Since I tend to be wary of anything that promises you the world and costs the proverbial arm and leg, I ignored the visual training programs that I found online and honed in on some things that were called perceptual learning and sensory efficiency. These are things they teach to kids, so I should be able to handle them. Also, the one website had links to suggested activities for no cost. That is a synonym for one of my favorite words: free!

Sensory Efficiency by Carrie Willings listed all sorts of ways to enlist your other senses in an effort to ‘see’ but it also talked about some of the visual perceptual skills you learn about in educational psychology but have not really thought about in a while. To wit: Would more purposeful visual scanning be useful? Am I doing it? Am I sharpening my visual discrimination skills and looking for detail more purposely? What about visual closure and figure-ground? Visual memory? Maybe getting some ‘kids’ games’ and practicing these skills would help? Maybe I have been unconsciously paying better attention to them since losing sight?

Like many things in life, I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I know I have become more cautious when working visually. I try to see differences and sequence mindfully – a word with many uses!? It might be helping.

OK. Right now it is after bedtime and I have found several interesting things to read – including an article on reading – and try to digest. I will get back to you about this visual perceptual business. Dunno if any of it will help but I doubt it would hurt.

Next: You’ve Got the Look

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