In The Beginning

February, 2015

I am a 61-year-young woman. Life is good. I am at the top of my career. I am active. People tell me they want to be me when they grow up.

February, 2016

I am going blind. I’m terrified.

June, 2015

I am driving down Route 11 with the windows open. Something gets in my right eye. No biggie. Wipe it out. With my right eye closed, the car in front of me disappears. Oh shit. Open the right eye again and the car in front of me is back. Close the right eye again and it disappears. There seems to be a problem here.

A call into my friendly neighborhood ophthalmologist gets me an appointment for the same day. They think it’s something serious. After several different tests I am given a diagnosis of dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD or ARMD).

When I was in third grade, I had a button that said “we never guess, we look it up.” In the age of the Internet and Google, this has become one of my credos. I look it up.

We never guess, we look it up.

What I find out is that Macular Degeneration (MD) is an eye condition in which the fine focus part of the eye stops working. There is actually a more complicated mechanism behind it but we will leave it at that for now. I will visit the science stuff later.

Macular Degeneration is thought to be genetic. Looking back, I realize my father had it. It also happens more to white people than other races. It happens more in women than men. And, thus the name. happens in those of us who are over 55. Those are the static variables. (Static variable, sounds like an oxymoron to me.)

I’m in the static variables, I am guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. Among the lifestyle choices that are factors in AMD, not so much. I have never smoked and I am in fairly good shape. The jury is out on whether or not my history of high blood pressure has anything to do with my developing the condition.

So here I am, based on the static variables, a really good candidate.

What exactly, however, was happening in those big brown eyes?

Click for more information on symptoms, causes, risk factors
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Next: The Science Stuff

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