Age-related macular disorder (AMD) can be a life-altering disease, but there are resources available from the AMD Alliance International and our member organizations throughout the globe to provide knowledge, help and hope. A diagnosis of AMD, particularly if vision loss is occurring quickly can generate a variety of very normal reactions including denial, anger, fear, grief, and depression.
In fact, one recently published research study has found that one third of the patients with AMD studied, had symptoms of depression. And worsening depression over time was related to a decline in the patient's self-reported visual functioning — meaning the patients reported more problems with daily activities such as reading newsprint, recognizing faces and watching TV — regardless of actual loss of vision. The scientists speculate that depression, without actual changes in vision, may spark a functional decline in AMD patients.
Coming to terms with your emotions is often as difficult as dealing with the loss of vision itself. As Chairman Emeritus, Dr. Bob Thompson writes in AMD Campaign Report: Urgent Call for International Action , "It was only later, when I looked back, I realized just how important the concerned support of my friends and family was in the difficult process of coming to terms with a disability that wasn't going to go away. I finally realized that the biggest battle to be fought, and won, lay not in my eyes but between the ears, in my mind. It is a tough battle to fight and made all the more difficult if you are alone and without help. I realized how lucky I was to have the love and support of my family and friends, not only the alternative treatments offered, but, from all those who visited, sat patiently, listened and helped me work my way through the grieving process."
AMD Alliance International is the only international organization in the world dedicated exclusively to promoting awareness, treatment and research into macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in the developed world. With 55 members in 21 countries, we are a membership organization comprised of the worlds' leading vision and research organizations.