There are close to two million older people in America who suffer from age-related macular degeneration. AMD causes various degrees of vision loss and can even lead to blindness. As you can probably discern from its name, this eye disease generally affects older people, typically over the age of 50. However, younger people do sometimes develop the early stages of AMD.
As people age and AMD progresses, it becomes much harder for them to live life the same way they have in the past. It becomes harder to see clearly which affects sufferers’ ability to do simple things like read a book or watch TV.
As a result of not being able to do the things they’ve always been able to do, people with AMD may begin to become depressed, withdraw from friends and family, and they may choose to stay at home due to fear or embarrassment when they would have gone out with friends before.
When Depression Sets In
Anyone who loses their ability to see clearly for any reason is likely to become depressed because it’s such a big change. They go from living their lives as they always have to being limited in the simple, everyday activities they can do, and that’s hard for many people to adjust to.
While depression itself is worrisome enough, other problems may stem from that depression. Extreme depression can cause people to basically lose their will to live. If someone with AMD becomes severely depressed, they may give up and stop seeking treatment for their vision problems, which will only make their vision that much worse. If they were to continue to seek treatment for their vision, they could possibly delay the progression and keep the vision that they do have for as long as possible.
In addition to continuing to seek treatment from their eye doctor for AMD, it would also be a good idea for them to see a therapist, who can help them come to terms with the way their life has changed and will continue to change as the disease progresses. They don’t have to give up; they just have to learn to do the things that they love in a different way.
Coping with Life and AMD
A psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Barry Rovner from Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University performed some research that determined that a certain form of therapy, known as behavior activation, can really help older people with AMD to come out of their depressions and begin to live life again.
Behavior activation isn’t a talk therapy; it’s more of an action therapy. It guides people with AMD and other vision problems to come up with strategies to do the things they love to do in different ways.
For instance, if they love to cook and bake but can no longer read the tiny print of recipe books, they can use notecards or pieces of paper and write (or have someone else write) each step or ingredient of the recipe in large letters on separate cards or pieces of paper so they can read them. That might mean they have 15 or 20 cards for one recipe, but it allows them to continue doing something they love. This strategy helped one of Dr. Rovner’s patients who loves to cook for her huge family.
For someone who loves to read books, but can no longer do so easily, they might consider getting better lighting in their home and using a magnifier to see the words on the page better. For those who are afraid of social situations because they can no longer see people’s faces clearly, they can let their friends and family know what is going on with their vision so the people around them will understand if they call them by the wrong name.
These types of strategies bring life back into the lives of people with AMD, both literally and figuratively. Yes, they’re losing their vision, and yes, it’s much more difficult to do what used to be normal daily activities, but they don’t have to give up on life; they just need to learn how to live life a little differently and be willing to continue to adjust as the AMD progresses.
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Delaying and Preventing AMD
Sadly, there is no cure for AMD, but there are things people can do to try to prevent it or at least delay its onset and severity. The first thing they can do is eat an eye healthy diet. Foods full of nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins A, C, and E, and many others are wonderful for keeping the eyes healthy and vision sharp.
Aside from eating foods that contain these nutrients, taking a supplement that contains these and many more eye-healthy nutrients and vitamins, such as our Ocu-Plus Formula, is a great way to make sure you are getting the necessary daily amounts to improve your eyesight as well as your overall health.
Quitting smoking, controlling high blood pressure and staying within a healthy weight range are all factors that can reduce the risk of developing AMD. The sooner you take action with these things, the better your chances are for delaying and possibly preventing AMD.