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THE MACULAR
DEGENERATION COMMUNITY

Claire


 

Name
Claire Powell

Born
August 7, 1949

Home
Midwest City, OKlahoma

Diagnosis
Myopic Degeneration

Eyes Affected
Right eye in 1997, left eye in 2000. Have worn glasses since I was in the 5th grade.

Eye Color
Blue

Age at Diagnosis
47

Visual Acuity
With correction 20/400 in right eye and 20/40 in left eye.

Treatment
Laser treatment in right eye in 1997. (I did not realize anything major was wrong until I went for a yearly eye exam and I could not see the big "E". I just thought I needed a new perscription for glasses.) In June, 2000 I began seeing wavy lines. I had no treatment because of the location of the crack. I have been very closely monitored by my retinal specialist and finally the leakage has dried up.

Prognosis or Current State of Vision
My right eye has not improved at all; however things are getting somewhat better in the left eye. I am very careful to report any change to my doctor as things can change so rapidly.

Family History
Neither of my parents were myopic; however my only sister is nearsighted. Her vision has improved as she has grown older. I am also convinced my grandfather (Mother's dad) had macular degeneration, but he died in 1964.

Impact on My Life
Until June, 2000 I was coping very well as only one eye was affected. Then I felt my world caving in when I began to lose my central vision in my left eye. It happened so fast. It was very hard to admit to others that I was visually impaired, but time makes a lot of difference.

Positive Effects
I am an educator of adults, so now I have new skills and understanding to work with individuals with special problems.

Adaptations
At work I have a 21" monitor as well as magnification software and also a magnifier connected to my computer monitor to use with printed text, etc. I am not allowed to drive "on the job" by my employer so another staff person (usually my secretary) has to drive me to my appointments and meetings. As a home economist I have learned many adaptations for various everyday skills.

Working
I have been able to continue my work as a Cooperative Extension Service educator in family and consumer sciences since special accommodations have been provided by my employer. It has been difficult and sometimes definitely a discouraging struggle. It is very difficult for a teacher to realize the impact you are making with your students when you can't see them very well let alone see their facial expressions. Hopefully I will take a regular retirement this July after 33 years as an educator.

More About Me
I already have plans for my retirement. I want to write a cookbook for diabetics and I have a stash of collectible depression glass that keeps growing and needs to be marketed.