HomeMoorestown NewsLetter to the editor

Letter to the editor

February is Black History Month, the month when we assess the progress that our country has made toward racial equality, keeping in mind that racial equality is a work in progress. February is also Low Vision Awareness Month, a month that has significance for me, a 92-year-old woman who has been battling age-related macular degeneration in both eyes since February of 2016.

At regular intervals, I get injections in either eye. When I arrived at South Jersey Eye Physicians for my first injection, I was apprehensive, wondering which part of the eye would the needle penetrate. Would it be the iris? And would there be enough anesthetic to dull the pain? As it turned out, my eye was so deluged with anesthetic that I barely felt the needle when it penetrated the corner of my eye closest to the nose.

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Injections to prevent or delay the onset of blindness have been available since 2005. To date, no other medication has been developed to combat AMD. Because I also have glaucoma in both eyes, I would be blind by now if it weren’t for these injections and, needless to say, I couldn’t live independently in my two-story house with the laundry in the basement. Nor could I still be active in FEP, the Friends Enrichment Program of Moorestown Meeting, which I created in 1997.

Back in the days when I worked as a journalist, I wrote a series of articles on the impact of AMD on old people, some still in their fifties. Some of the people I visited lived at Medford Leas, but some lived in the community semi independently in their children’s homes. A few still lived independently, though they were aware that their days of independent living would soon be over. Among this latter group, one man in his late seventies committed suicide soon after I met him, which still brings tears to my eyes when I think about him.

One in ten Americans aged 59 and older have AMD and could benefit from eye injections. However, only a fraction of those who qualify choose to get these injections or they give them up after a short period of trial. My hope is that some of these people will read this letter and contact their eye doctor ASAP.

Monique Begg



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