Judi Dench's diagnosis sheds light on macular degeneration
by Joe Strechay
Perhaps you know her as "M" from some of the James Bond films. With Oscar season upon us, maybe you recall she nabbed the Best Supporting Actress honor for 1998's "Shakespeare in Love." And at this point, you've probably read the headlines: Judi Dench has been diagnosed with, and is receiving treatment for, macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is a degenerative eye condition that affects the macula (center of the retina—the highest concentration of cone cells, which are linked to detail vision). There are different types of macular degeneration. This condition has become more prevalent as persons are living a lot longer than previous generations.
The most common type is AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) which occurs typically in persons over the age of 60 due to genetic and environmental causes. This is the fastest growing type of visual impairment among seniors in the United States.
Judi Dench has released statements and saying that she is not going blind. This is most likely because she is receiving treatments such as injections into her eye to help reduce the degeneration process and, in some cases, restore some vision loss. There is a ton of information out there specific to macular degeneration—if you or someone you know is dealing with vision loss—please visit The American Foundation for the Blind's family of websites including AFB Senior Site and VisionAware. These sites are packed with resources on topics ranging from dealing with a diagnosis to preventing slips and falls. You can find various tips to help that family member who is dealing with AMD or other types of vision loss. Has your mother been mentioning that she is having a hard time seeing the television screen?
I believe the blindness community and field should be grateful to Judi Dench for coming out and placing a spotlight on a growing issue that affects millions. It is so important to visit an ophthalmologist if you are experiencing a loss in vision. But, it is also important to remember to learn how to deal with your current situation—AFB has a variety of resources to explore!
- In the News
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