Someone close to me has MD
When first diagnosed with MD, people experience different feelings ranging from disbelief to apprehension and even depression. It takes time to adjust to new circumstances and vision loss is no exception. What may seem an insurmountable difficulty, for someone newly experiencing vision loss, can become just another element of daily life with some slight adjustments to every day activities.
When a friend or relative has vision loss, be a good listener, be positive, a supportive friend and take time when requested to help with tasks. This is where talking to others who have MD can really help.
Seeking sound advice and support at the time of diagnosis is very important, especially in relation to employment.
Call the MD Foundation helpline to discuss the many other resources available, such as low vision organisations.
Does MD cause complete blindness?
Vision loss with MD doesn't mean going 'black blind'. The peripheral vision is maintained. It involves a loss of detail through the loss of central vision. It may become harder to read or to recognise faces. It takes longer to adjust to changes in light for example, being in bright sunlight then walking indoors to a dim room.
People with MD are more likely to trip and fall. Relatives and friends can help by discussing the importance of becoming more aware of how walking is undertaken. For example, instead of relying on eyes for balance, focussing on the feeling in legs and feet. Treads can be fitted with bright edge strips to increase visual contrast. Practising walking next to walls and taking particular care on stairs, are simple tips but can be critical to prevention of falls and gaining confidence.
Taking it one day at a time
As a friend or relative of a person with MD, it is important to be aware of the following points which may help to cope with vision loss.
Staying positive and setting realistic goals
Adjusting and actively learning new skills and feeling empowered through accomplishment
Keeping things in perspective
Accepting limitations and not being too demanding of oneself
Actively seeking support from others
Adopting a can do attitude
Anxiety and Depression
Occasionally some people may become anxious or depressed and may need professional counselling. As a friend or family member, it is important to be aware of this possibilty and professional advice should be sought immediately if there are any concerns.