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Digital Subscriptions > The Oban Times & Lochaber Times > 11 January 2018 > A time for reflection

A time for reflection

Eye to eye with John Wallace

The festivities are long gone and for many so have our New Year resolutions of a fresh start 2018. New Year is also a time for reflection. Last August my elderly mother passed away. She had been unwell for some time and for her, her passing was a blessed relief. The reason I am writing about this is she was severely visually handicapped. Since her teenage year she had been a heavy smoker which took its toll on her eyesight. There is a well proven extremely strong link with smoking and macular degeneration. In fact many eye care professional believe the message on cigarette packaging should be “Smoking will make you blind”. What I find very frustrating about my mother’s eye problems was she had had distorted vision for several months before she finally told me about it. When, eventually, I was able to examine her eyes she had pronounced wet macular degeneration. Her excuse was she felt I was busy and the problem would go away eventually. This scenario is one I frequently encounter with my elderly patients. They don’t want to take up my time with a “trivial” problem. Unfortunately these problems just get worse and become much harder to treat. Macular degeneration (ARMD) comes in two forms …wet and dry. Most patients with ARMD have dry macular degeneration which slowly changes causing a gradual reduction in vision which many don’t notice until they can barely see to drive. Wet ARMD typically presents with a sudden loss or distortion of vision. If you suffer a sudden change in your vision it is vital you seek urgent advice from your optometrist. Wet ARMD can be, in most cases, successfully treatable if caught early enough. Your optometrist will be happy to see you and check your eyesight.

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