By David S. Boyer, MD, and Homayoun Tabandeh, MD (2012)
Reviewed by Judith Rasmussen, Program Assistant at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired
Written by two retinal specialists, this is an easy-to-understand and informative book for patients and their families. It is only 126 pages long and has six chapters. The chapters cover the two types of macular degeneration, their signs and symptoms, what to expect in an appointment with a retinal ophthalmologist, possible treatment options, how to reduce the risk factors for the disease, and tools for adapting and living with this vision condition. Each chapter has a short summary, photographs and illustrations. There is also a glossary of terms and a list of resources and support groups in the appendix.
The authors write that 11 million Americans have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, and that number is expected to skyrocket by the middle of the century due to the aging population. They emphasize the importance of getting regular comprehensive eye exams. Possible signs of the disease that should alert someone to contact their eye care provider include: blank spots in the center of vision, difficulty recognizing faces, straight lines that appear wavy, and changes in perception of color.
Boyer and Tabandeh describe the types of tests that might take place in an eye exam, suggest questions that the patient might ask the doctor, and explain the various treatment options that are available if macular degeneration is diagnosed.
The book also outlines the various risk factors for developing macular degeneration. What is good for our general health is also good for the health of our eyes. Regular exercise, quitting smoking and eating healthy foods can help reduce these risks and possibly the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
The chapter devoted to living with macular degeneration lists a wide range of techniques and tools that can be used at home and work, as well as during travel and leisure activities. From magnifying devices, computer programs, talking products, and large-print items to specialized travel agencies, adapting to changing vision is possible.
The authors have a very positive attitude and obvious interest in the whole individual with macular degeneration, not just their patients’ eyes.