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THE MACULAR
DEGENERATION COMMUNITY

Jack


 

Name
Jack Hagelin

Born
August 31, 1955

Home
Woodinville, Washington (near Seattle)

Diagnosis
Stargardt's (Fundus Flavimaculatis)

Eyes Affected
both

Eye Color
brown

Age at Diagnosis
34 (though I had symptoms at 27)

Visual Acuity
20/200 L; 20/50 R

Treatment
none

Prognosis or Current State of Vision
Left eye has lost total central vision. Right eye's blind spot is about the same as the left eye, but there is a small circle in the very center of the macula that I can still see with. This enables me to read and drive for now, but the circle is closing, and then it will change abruptly to legal blindness. (I mapped out my blind spots using an Excel spreadsheet and filling in the little boxes everywhere I couldn't see, while staring at the middle spot.)

Family History
Father's eyes still quite good at 79. Mother had some vision problems in her family. Her sister had AMD, grandmother was blind due to something. My 57 year old sister was just diagnosed with AMD.

Impact on My Life
So far not too much until recently. Now it is harder to see in dim light, harder to read, and I have stopped driving at night. I have cut my daytime driving to a minimum. My color vision is affected, though I still have some. My depth perception is not too good. Bright lights are hard to bear. Slanting light at sunrise and sunsets are also hard to see through. A big effect has been not seeing faces clearly. I am now realizing how much communication occurs with just facial expressions. I am sad about not seeing my wife's or children's faces clearly.

Positive Effects
Makes me appreciate sight more. Makes me more determined to accomplish things in spite of the extra difficulty.

Adaptations
Computer: increased font size some, though not a lot because of the ring shaped blind spot. I changed mouse cursor to 'magnified' oprion on Windows 2000. No special software yet. No glasses yet, though I am shopping for the right sunglasses and filtered indoor glasses. I take supplements for the eye, though I haven't done so until recently. I bought a pair of 8X portable binoculars that work quite well, and were only $10 at Wallmart (Tasco #165RB). I am gradually improving my lighting situation at home and work.

Working
I work as an aircraft engineer at Boeing specializing in aircraft and landing gear structural dynamics associated with ground maneuvers. I have been there for about 20 years, and am at the top of my field. I worry a little about how I will continue once I am legally blind.

More About Me
I am married (since 1983 to Suzanne), with four great kids: 10 yr old boy: Stephen and 12,14 and 16 yr old girls: Natasha, Antonia, Katrina. None of them have any eye problems (yet). We have lived in the Seattle area for the last 20+ years, except for a couple years when we went to Israel in the mid 80s. I worked there at Israeli Aircraft Industries. Our first daughter was born there. I graduated high school in Israel as well in 73. (We lived there for two years due to my father's job). We had a great time there. I am originally from...well, I am an Air Force brat, so I grew up in: Washington, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Connecticut, and Montana. I am a devoted christian, and my wife an I are praying about going to the mission field in the near future. We are still seeking God for direction about where, but we feel it will be a third-world nation. We have been on several short term trips with our youth group (Nepal, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Canada) and are leading a another team this year (2002) to NY and DC. Because of my faith, I don't worry much about this eye disease. I trust that all things will work out as they should as long as I keep cooperating with God. Someday I will have perfect vision!