Health Plus: Macular degeneration - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Macular degeneration

Coping with vision loss can be isolating and overwhelming.

But with so many eastern Iowans facing macular degeneration, help is available to keep your independence.

Here's Tara Thomas with Health Plus.

At 80-years-old, Bonnie Christensen still wants to stay active.

She reads the paper and even paints watercolors.

But a diagnosis of macular degeneration seven years ago has limited her eyesight.

"I was a little lost at first because I'm an artist and I lost all my vision in that one eye and it throws everything else off."

She can no longer use her right eye.

"The retina kept detaching so they couldn't seem to get that together."

There is no cure for the waterloo woman's macular degeneration, but the goal is to stall the delicate eye tissue from further breakdown through treatments, like shots, she gets for her eyes.

Occupational therapist Sue Hoey is here to help.

At Covenant Medical Center, she guides patients with vision loss through the often frustrating process of adapting.

"They think the only magnifiers are some that you can get in your local department store but there are many higher-powered magnifiers that can mean a world of difference for people. And there are also many gadgets such as clocks that can talk to you, checks that have raised lines, phones that are big and bold and things that make life easier."

Hoey says home visits are a part of the rehab process.

"Often we go out to a person's home and help take a look both from a safety standpoint, are there things that might be a hazard or contributing to falls. Also with lighting, are there suggestions we can make there. Then we can do things like mark the stove, microwave oven, so they continue to be as independent as possible,"

As for Bonnie, she plans to write a book.

Next week in Health Plus, we'll tell you about all the resources available in our area for vision loss patients, including support groups.

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