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Living Well with Macular Degeneration
Practical Tips and Essential Information
By Dr. Bruce P. Rosenthal and Kate Kelly

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Living Well with Macular Degeneration: Practical Tips and Essential Information

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Living Well with Macular Degeneration: Practical Tips and Essential Information
By Dr. Bruce P. Rosenthal and Kate Kelly
New American Library, (2001)
ISBN: 0-451-20264-3
Genre: Health - Eye Diseases

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - July 29, 2001

Dealing with any form of vision loss can be devastating, both for the individual suffering the loss, and their family members. Unfortunately, many people find that when they are initially diagnosed with macular degeneration, they leave the eye doctors' office with little more than the name of the condition. It is left up to the individual to discover just what it is that they have, and how to adjust to the loss of sight that has, or will, occur. Yet even when you have a doctor who fully explains the condition, many people are left wanting, or needing, more information. Not just about the condition, but also about methods and strategies for coping with the associated vision loss.

Living Well with Macular Degeneration: Practical Tips and Essential Information is designed to provided assistance to those suffering from Macular Degeneration (MD) as well as to individuals who have a friend or family member dealing with the condition. This book covers a variety of topics including an explanation of just what MD is and how it treated, to tips on how to make everyday activities easier to do. This text also includes a comprehensive resource list that will help you find additional information about MD, as well as assistive aids and the support.

This book is divided in three sections. Part one, "When Vision Begins to Change" describes the symptoms, diagnostic methods and the available treatment options. This section deals with the risk factors of acquiring MD, and methods that can be taken to help prevent, or at least slow, the development of MD. This section also offers suggestions on how to seek proper medical treatment, what to expect during an eye exam, and, most important, how to deal with a diagnosis of MD.

Part Two, "Extra Vision When You Need It" deals with methods of maximizing the sight that you do have. It provides simple techniques that you can use to expand your sight, such as eccentric viewing, scanning, and the importance of proper lighting. The authors, Dr. Bruce P. Rosenthal and Kate Kelly, explain the basics of how eccentric viewing and scanning are performed. As well they go into detail about how to choose the proper lighting, both to improve general vision and to minimize associated glare. They also mention one very important detail that many people with low vision tend to overlook - have your eye glass prescription checked regularly. Even a small change in your prescription can make a big difference in your usable vision.

Part Three, "Practical Advice for Living Well" is an invaluable guide on how to improve your daily life by making few simple changes in your environment. For example, by minimizing clutter in your home, you will be able to navigate your home easier. As well, by making use of assistive aids you can do just about everything you could do before you developed MD. For instance, just because you can no longer read standard print, it does not follow that you must give up reading. There are a variety of methods of continuing to read, ranging from switching to large print books or reading with a magnifying device. As well, there are many assistive aids available that will 'talk' to you. These include just about everything from talking books (i.e., audio recordings of books) to talking watches that will audibly tell you the time with a push of a button. There are also a variety of oversized items that you can use that are easier to see and use, ranging from giant sized remote control devices to calculators and phones with extra large buttons and lettering. This section also includes tips on how to do everyday tasks, running the gamut from cooking, to cleaning, to paying bills, to general grooming tips.

Of particular importance, this third section also covers the controversial topic of driving. Information is offered about the risks associated with driving when you have MD. It discusses methods by which you can drive safer, and how to determine when you should hang up your keys. The authors provide information on bioptic glasses and their usefulness in extending the driving life of MD suffers. Also included is a detailed chart that lists the basic vision acuity required to get a driver's license in each state, as well as which states allow drivers to use bioptic glasses when driving. In addition, this section ends with a chapter devoted to offering advice for non-MD suffers on how to deal with, and act toward, people with MD.

Living Well with Macular Degeneration offers a wealth of solid information, advice, and helpful hints that will empower anyone with MD. Unfortunately, this book is not yet available in large print, nonetheless it is a wonderful reference book. Not only will this book help you live a better life, but it will also enable you to take an active role in your own treatment, to authoritatively discuss your condition with your doctor, and to explain the condition to others. Most importantly this book explains why, even when all medical treatments have been exhausted, that there are still steps you can take to improve your quality of life, and to maximize your remaining vision.

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