When they are faced with the news they have macular degeneration, in which the central vision deteriorates due to general wear and tear and lifestyle factors, many patients worry they are going blind.
But in actual fact, patients can continue to enjoy healthy vision, whether through treatment with injections, by learning new techniques to make the best use of their navigational vision, or by making lifestyle changes such as improving their diet and quitting smoking.
A number of visual aids are also available to help patients, as well as local support groups and charities, which see like-minded patients coming together to share solutions to enable them to live well with the condition.
Sreekumari Pushpoth, Consultant Ophthalmologist at The James Cook University Hospital, said: “There is so much on offer for patients with Macular Degeneration that the time that we get to spend with them in clinics doesn’t allow for talking about all the endless possibilities.
“This is why, for the second year running, we’re holding a macular degeneration awareness day for local people with the condition - and their relatives - to come along and try out new visual aids, learn new techniques to make the best use of their eyesight and find out about various local support groups and charities.
“There will even be an opportunity for patients’ relatives to try on special ‘goggles’ that mimic the effect of the condition, giving them a greater understanding of what their loved one is going through and how they see the world differently.”
The awareness day will be held at the South Tees Institute of Learning Research and Innovation (LRI) on The James Cook University Hospital site on Monday June 26 from 9am. If you wish to attend, please call Elaine Compton on 01642 282688. You can also find more information at www.macularsociety.org