By Roz Rogoff
Seeing my futureUploaded: Mar 25, 2014
I'm not a prognosticator. I cannot look into a crystal ball and see where I will be or what I will be doing 20 years from now. But based on family history and current conditions, I see myself as potentially going blind from AMD, or Age Related Macular Degeneration, in 10 to 20 years.
Some of you might say, "Why do you expect to live another 20 years." I'm 71 now but based on my family history again, my mother is 98, her mother lived to be 98 (but my mother is in better shape) and her mother's father lived to be 103 and that was in 1939. My Grandmother's sister, Laura, was fat most of her life and she lived to 95.
That side of my family lives a loooong time, but they mostly all go blind and deaf too. My grandmother needed hearing aids as she aged. The quality of hearing aids in those days wasn't as good as now. She also had tinnitus which the hearing aid magnified. So she couldn't use it very often.
I suggested getting an ear trumpet, which worked for people sitting nearby to speak directly into. Ear trumpets are no longer being made but I suppose I could find an antique one on eBay. I purchased Ear Glasses, which are clear plastic cups that fit behind each ear to focus the sound into the ear. They are the same as cupping your ear with your hand when watching TV. The ear glasses work the same way and I don't need to keep my hand on my ear for an hour at a time.
I also have hearing aids, but I don't wear them. Even though these are behind the ear hearing aids and not all in the ear, they still make my ears feel clogged up. So I am either cupping my hand and asking people to repeat what they said or nodding and pretending I understood it.
I don't wear my hearing aids because I don't want to admit I'm going deaf. I can hear but I can't recognize spoken speech anymore, and I won't admit it even to myself. So I leave my Starkey 1200 hearing aids in a pouch in my purse until I really need to know what's being said. They work, but only when I actually use them.
That's what happens when people get older. We don't face up to the changes that happen slowly as we age. We deny that we can't hear as well or see as well or whatever else as well as we used to only a few years earlier.
Anyway this blog isn't about my hearing it's about my vision. I used to have 20/20 vision. My brother and sister both needed glasses when they were growing up, but I never did. Often I would read the newspaper in low light and my father would warn me that it would hurt my eyesight, but it didn't back then.
Like my hearing, my eyesight changed as I got older. I started needing reading glasses 20 years ago. I bought those magnifying glasses in the drug store. First at 1.75 magnification, then 2.0, then 2.5, then 3.0, then I knew I needed real eye glasses.
Now I have bifocals and even trifocals. I have one pair of glasses for distance and driving, another for reading, and a third pair for computer use. As a writer and online instructor, I need to be able to see and read and write on a computer screen. I suppose I could get a monitor with magnified type or voice recognition, but for now I want to read and write in standard 11 point Calibri.
My mother started going blind from AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration) in her early nineties. She's 98 now and legally blind. She says she can see shapes but she can't recognize people except by their voice.
So I am concerned about AMD as I get older. I take a vitamin mix to slow the onset, and I contribute to Macular Degeneration Research to find a cure. I'm hoping they will come up with a cure soon for mother and for my future. So the future I see will be one in which I can still see.