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Driving at Night

Age Related Macular Degeneration: Night Driving

Emergency Visit Continued

Georgia falls asleep and Rosemary continues to sit on a hard, cold folding chair.  Her back is starting to hurt so she goes for a walk to the waiting room.  She finds that the waiting room door locks behind her and she cannot get back to Georgia’s room.  She asks the triage person if she can go back to see her friend, and it is lucky that she recognizes Rosemary and takes her back right away.  Georgia is awake now and the surgeon is in the room.  Rosemary enters the room but feels like an intruder, Georgia tells her to stay.  Hospital staff arrive to take Georgia to the operating room and Rosemary follows.  Rosemary is hungry and tired.  She waits in the operating room waiting area in a comfortable chair after buying coffee and peanuts from the vending machine.  It is now 11 pm and the surgeon has told Rosemary that the surgery will last several hours and she should go home.  Rosemary does not want to abandon her friend, but decides she is not feeling well herself.  Rosemary reluctantly calls a cab to take her home because she does not drive in the dark.  She will go home for a few hours and then come back to be with Georgia.  Rosemary makes a mental note to get new glasses; she is having more and more trouble with seeing while driving.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Rosemary is experiencing macular degeneration.  It is an age related disorder that damages the macula, which is the part of the retina that distinguishes fine details.  There are two types of macular degeneration wet AMD and dry AMD.

Wet AMD occurs when blood vessels grow under the retina causing blood and fluid leakage.  The person with wet AMD might notice that straight lines appear to look wavy.

Dry AMD is the more common form of macular degeneration.  Vision gradually blurs over time as the retina becomes thinner.  Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision impairment in those aged 65 years or older.

Treatment options are available for both wet and dry AMD.  Treatment includes injectable drug therapy, laser treatment surgery, and vitamin supplementation.  Regular eye exams are recommended to detect any changes in the retina.


Comments (0) • Posted May 2, 2011

Author: Julie L., BS, BSN, RN
Julie has worked as a Registered Nurse in the emergency room, as a clinical nursing instructor, and as a director of clinical services in home care.

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