'I would have been blind by now, God forbid' - Pensioner on how routine eye test saved her sight
It’s hard to imagine that Margery Duffy (83) would today be blind, if it weren’t for a routine eye test.
Margery, an avid reader, meets her friends regularly for a book club, and counts Philippa Gregory, Anne O’Brien and John Grisham as her favourite authors.
At 83 years of age, she says she can “do all the normal things people do” - thanks to a routine visit to her optician in 2010.
“I was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2010,” she told independent.ie.
AMD is the leading cause of sight loss in people aged 50 and over in Ireland – almost 100,000 people throughout the country have AMD, with 7,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the over 50 population.
There are two types of AMD – wet and dry – and I was diagnosed with wet AMD, which fortunately can be treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) injections.
Margery gets one injection into her eye every 12 weeks.
“You’ll do anything to save your sight. It’s one injection every twelve weeks, right into the eye.”
“It (the injection) scared me very much in the beginning, but I’ve gotten used to them because I’ve been having them for the last seven or eight years. It’s all over in five minutes.”
“If I hadn’t got these injections I wouldn’t be able to read. It saved my hobby of reading.”
As the symptoms of AMD can often go unrecognised, it is crucial that people get their eyes tested regularly so that if there are any signs of AMD it can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
“AMD if it’s caught in time, it has no impact on your vision. My main hobby is reading and I’m still able to do that, so I’d say to anyone ‘get yourself tested’,” Margery said.
“I had no symptoms. The optician picked it up when she examined my eyes.”
“I was so lucky to have been caught early, and because I started treatment immediately the condition has never affected my vision.”
“I couldn’t imagine not being able to pick up a novel and escape into its story.”
“I would have been blind by now, God forbid... Years ago, people would just go blind because they could do nothing for it.”
“I drive my car, I’m 83 and I can still drive, I can do all the normal things people do.”
AMDAwareness week September 25 – 30 - which aims to raise awareness of the sight loss condition and encourage the public to get a free AMD test.