Being diagnosed with macular degeneration can be quite disheartening. The condition is not curable as of yet and can make various everyday tasks much more difficult. Aside from the loss of vision, there are many other complications associated with this condition.
For starters, most people are not able to handle the inevitable vision loss that comes with macular degeneration. There is a high possibility that patients may develop anxiety and depression as a result of the diagnosis. It is definitely not easy to cope with losing your ability to see as well as the ability to lead an independent life. According to statistics, about one third of age-related macular degeneration patients have developed some form of anxiety and depression. It is very important that patients discuss the changes to their life with their general physician or ophthalmologist so that they can recommend treatment and support options.
If you are diagnosed with macular degeneration, you will have to inform your insurance provider and the driving regulations authority in your state immediately. The loss of vision may make it difficult to see the road and to drive safely. In the event that your eyesight is not severely impaired, you may be able to operate a vehicle without much trouble. In this case, you will have to perform various eye exams and vision tests to prove your competence. Macular degeneration has the most effect on central vision. Central vision is very important when it comes to driving and if you are unable to meet the set standards, you may not be able to drive a vehicle.
Some patients with macular degeneration report various visual hallucinations. This condition, called ‘Charles Bonnet Syndrome’ is not entirely uncommon as it affects about 10% of patients with age-related macular degeneration. The visual signals received by your brain become considerably limited when you have macular degeneration. Therefore, your brain attempts to compensate for the loss of stimulation by creating images on its own or using images from your memory. These hallucinations can be anything from shapes, colors and patterns all the way to faces, people, animals and even entire scenes. They can last from a few minutes up to a few hours and may occur in color or black and white. While many patients report that the images are not unpleasant, their sudden appearance is quite unsettling. It is important to understand that Charles Bonnet Syndrome is not a mental health issue. It is actually a result of your vision loss and not a reflection of your mental health. If you are experiencing hallucinations, be sure to update your doctor so that they can assist you with the condition.