By Dr. Marilyn B. Field
Senior Healthcare Advisors
In the US, Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision impairment and loss among individuals over the age of 50. The good news is that new treatments are available to help!
Your vision is what allows you to take in the moment and have control of your life; but, Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can hinder that. The changes in the eyes caused by Wet AMD produces symptoms such as black spots, blurriness, and wavy lines. It affects the center of your vision, which you need for driving and reading, and can influence your independence.
Wet AMD can get worse over time and eventually result in a loss of vision. This is why it is so important to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist on a regular basis, and then to follow up with the treatment plan recommended.
There are a number of ways to maximize your vision, even when it is impaired by Wet AMD. There are ophthalmologists who specialize in Wet AMD who can work with you on an individual basis to find the best equipment and techniques to meet your needs. In addition, many healthcare insurance providers cover occupational therapy which allows a trained professional to come to your home, assess your specific difficulties, recommend the proper equipment and teach you techniques to help you cope and increase the quality of your life.
Prescription eyeglasses are critical for the treatment of Wet age-related macular degeneration(AMD). Reading glasses can be specialized with prisms built in that provide better contrast and higher levels of magnification.
Increased or bright broad-spectrum lights can be mounted on your desk and placed in locations and angles that can help you with reading. Placing extra lighting under cabinets, on stairs, and in hallways can help your vision and provide extra safety from falling. Using curtains and blinds can aid in controlling glare if needed.
Electronic devices are also helpful as they can take a picture of small print and blow them up on your computer monitor. Computers can change the type and size and adjust the images for the best possible results.
Smart devices now work with voice commands, which helps those who have difficulty seeing the screen. Some software products now available can convert your voice into text and vice versa. Many newspapers and books are now available in audio for your enjoyment and news information.
Modifying Your Home
Fall risks need to be minimized. Level floors, good lighting, and other safety equipment is very helpful. Also, reaching out for help. Thinking of yourself as a burden is hurtful to many family members, most are very happy to help. Asking for help is better than a broken hip!
Make sure to have handrails installed on both sides of any stairways, and mark the edges of each step with bright tape. You can also paint the top and bottom steps in contrasting colors.
Use a variety of household items made specially for people with low vision: watches, cell phones, clocks, scales, medication labels with large print, etc.
Exercising regularly can help to reduce inflammation, which is an important contributor to Wet AMD. When you exercise your blood flow to the retina and optic nerves improves. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR before starting any exercise routine.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
Your overall health and wellness along with your eye health can benefit from a healthy and nutritious diet. Dark leafy greens, and orange and yellow fruits and veggies, fish, and whole grains are good for your eyes!
Maintain Normal Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels
High blood pressure constricts the blood vessels that nourish your eyes. Cholesterol can deposit into your eyes and promote Wet AMD. Have your blood levels drawn at least twice per year if you have been diagnosed with Wet AMD. Many healthcare plans cover the cost of a nutritionist, especially if ordered by your primary care physician.
Wear Eye Protection When Outdoors
Exposure to sunlight outdoors can increase or worsen the symptoms of Wet AMD. Wear hats and high-quality sunglasses with a UVB and UVA protection rating of at least 99%.
If your vision is impaired by Wet AMD, you may be eligible for special benefits including tax exemptions, social security benefits, and ID cards for proof of identity. Some insurance companies offer transportation to doctor’s appointments.
What to expect when you talk to us:
Verify Enrollment Qualification
We ask you 3 questions that let us know If we can help you within the first 3 minutes.
Verify Benefits Availability
If you have qualified enrollment, next, we verify that the benefits you need are available in your zip code
Review Summary of Benefits
We go over the entire plan’s benefits from top to bottom with you so you can make an informed decision.
Verify Your Doctors are in-network or find you new doctors to meet your needs.
We verify your current doctors are in network with the plan with the benefits you need. If you are on the market for new doctors, we help you find them.
Verify Your Medications are Covered
Next, we get a list of all your medications and verify if they are all covered. We also tell you if there are any co-pays, so there are no surprises when you go to the pharmacy.