Are You Aware Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

February is the month for increasing awareness of Macular Degeneration, often called age-related macular degeneration or AMD. AMD is an eye disorder that normally occurs with aging and causes a loss of sharp, central vision. We use our central vision for many tasks during the day, to read, to drive, to watch TV or a computer screen; it is how we see clearly.

I want us to spend a moment thinking about what having AMD would mean in our lives and how it would affect us. Imagine having a conversation with a person who is very important to you, but not being able to see their face when you look at them. How would you know how they were reacting to your comments or your questions? You could not see their smiles or a frown on their face. The only way you could see those expressions would be to turn away from them and watch them out of your peripheral side vision. Would they wonder why you were “not looking at them” during your conversation? What would they think if they did not know of your vision loss? Would they think you were being rude, trying to end the conversation, looking for someone more interesting to talk with?

In another situation, imagine you were just being introduced to someone, but you need to look sideways in order to see their face. You turn away and appear to be looking in another direction...Would they feel that you were pleased to meet them?

It is estimated that 1.8 million Americans aged 40 years and older are affected by AMD and an additional 7.3 million are at substantial risk of developing AMD. It is very likely that you know someone with AMD; why don’t you talk with them about it and learn how to assist in making their lives a little bit easier?

Vision loss awareness: Let’s not make it more than just a thought in February!

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A Closer Look

• 7 of 10 people with severe vision loss are unemployed

• 80 percent of people with severe vision loss experience chronic depression

• Visually impaired veterans are 10 times more likely to commit suicide than any other type of disabled veteran

• Total cost of vision loss exceeded $50 billion in 2007

• Roughly 21.5 million adult Americans have trouble seeing

• One in three youths under 25 are currently obese and a large percentage will suffer from vision loss

Our Services:

The goals of the Overcome Vision Loss Foundation include:

• Serving as advocates for those with vision loss from any reason

• Targeting causes of preventable or reversible vision loss

• Supporting research on quality of life to speed societal changes in public policy and legislation

• Serving as a primary source of information for all such research

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