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8/17/10

Macular Degeneration & A Ray of Hope

My brother-in-law has macular degeneration. When we visit I joke with him, and ask if being unable to see the center of things has turned him into a political extremist. He can be looking right at me yet only see a blur of colors. He lives in a very small town and used to walk to the local coffee shop but stopped doing so. People would greet him, and he would say good morning to them in return, but he had no idea who the person was. Embarrassed by this, he stopped walking the sidewalk and now spends all his time at home, his eyes seeing a smear of colors on the television screen, only his ears able to understand. The disease is hereditary. His mother had it and he may have passed it on to his children and grandchildren. Some have decided to take the test to determine if they have it. Others don't want to know.

There is hope for some people like him. Consider this: "Partially sighted and registered blind people can be taught to read and see faces again using the undamaged parts of their eyes, say experts.

When only the central vision is lost, as with the leading cause of blindness, age-related macular degeneration, peripheral vision remains intact.

And patients can be taught to exploit this, the Macular Disease Society says." More

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