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THE MACULAR
DEGENERATION COMMUNITY

Suellen ("Welly")


 

Name
Suellen Tapsall

Born
Mar 21, 1962

Home
Perth, Australia

Diagnosis
Myopic degeneration

Eyes Affected
CNVM in left eye, lacquer crack in right eye

Eye Color
Hazel/green

Age at Diagnosis
39

Visual Acuity
Left eye 6/24, right eye still OK but lots more visual disturbances from floaters.

Treatment
PDT x 3

Prognosis or Current State of Vision
6/24 in left eye. CNVM identified in that eye September 2001. Two PDT treatments so far ineffectual. Third treatment on Friday 15/2/02. Two-eye vision is still officially 20/20 (corrected for myopia) but double vision is a significant problem. I no longer drive at night and will not drive anywhere unfamiliar in the daytime. Still reading OK but blur/glare is a problem. I feel like I have more headaches and eye aches than ever before.

Family History
Mother with myopia (not as bad as mine) father with nystagmus (which I also have to a lesser degree). No information re myopic degeneration in parents or grandparents.

Impact on My Life
It's occupied a lot of my time and cost a lot of money so far! As an academic, I read and process substantial amounts of information visually -- I do not feel that I am as effective at this as I was. I am less likely to be driving than before and make-up likely to be lopsided (it was hard enough putting make-up on as a high myope, without losing one eye altogether!) As a Christian, I believe in God's plan for my/our life/lives: therefore I haven't shed any tears over this, but I have been frustrated and angry at times re lack of information and the cost of it all. My husband and family are supportive, which helps. I feel like I'm in a holding pattern -- haven't been without left eye vision long enough to get used to it, and am waiting for the other shoe to drop if the right eye goes. Did I mention that I hate waiting for ANYTHING -- be it good or bad news? :)

Positive Effects
Have learned (thanks to the list) that there are many others dealing with similar or far more trying issues. We have experienced God's blessing, in that we have found the money for the treatment ($7000+ so far) despite it being WAY outside our financial capability. Maybe this is one way of reducing the (over)-workload.

Adaptations
I have started to move my career into administration and facilitation so that if the right eye goes as suddenly, it is not as drastic an impact. I feel that at this stage, keeping up with the list and getting to know myopic degeneration are the most important things I can do. I hope to gradually start adapting to technology mediated communication BEFORE I need it (if I ever do :)

Working
Previously a journalist, now a university researcher, teacher and administrator. A book- and screen-aholic, I think through my fingers on a keyboard (and I don't touch-type).

More About Me
I have a wonderful Christian husband and four beautiful daughters aged 6-11 (as of February 2002). Love to read, watch television and films and seem to spend much of my time working. We also have some wonderful friends and workmates who are supportive of us all.