I rented a movie over the weekend called "Trouble With the Curve", a story about Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood), an aging baseball scout who is trying to ignore the signs of aging that are affecting his ability to do his job. Most notably, his vision.
Early on in the movie we see him stumble into his coffee table, hit the side of his garage with his car and use a magnifying glass to read the sports pages of the newspaper. As the camera lets us experience what he is seeing, there is a noticeable blur located centrally in his vision. Aha, I think...this guy has macular degeneration.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is caused by the deterioration of the central part of the retina known as the macula, the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision, sharp detail and color perception. Certainly things that are very important for Gus to perform his job!
Early signs of the disease may include vision that is distorted, wavy lines, blurring of the central vision, difficulty with recognizing faces, driving and problems reading. Though the exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, there are several risk factors that we ARE aware of that can contribute to developing the disease.
Let's take a look at Gus Lobel, the character in the movie. He's probably in his 70's, is a heavy cigar smoker and has a terrible diet...I mean really....cold spam out of the can for breakfast...not exactly the breakfast of champions! He has light eyes and skin and has spent countless years sitting on the bleachers at ballparks in the sun without sunglasses. So, in his case, age, smoking, diet, and UV exposure all played a role in the development of his macular degeneration. Seriously, this guy has a lot of strikes against him!
Now, let's take a look at Gus' daughter, Mickey. Obviously female, family history of macular degeneration, fair complexion (red hair, blue eyes)...she has even MORE risk factors than her dad. Though early in the plot, we see Mickey working toward partnership in her law firm and whipping up a healthy smoothie for breakfast, later as she puts her own career on hold to go on the road with her dad, we see her scarfing down a couple of hot dogs while sitting on the bleachers watching a ballgame...no sunglasses either. Hmmmmm....makes you wonder what HER vision will be like by the time she is her dad's age?
The lesson learned from this movie? First, know the risk factors of developing age-related macular degeneration. Change the risk factors that you can control such as smoking cessation, eating a healthy diet and limiting your sun exposure. See your eye care specialist if you have family history or have more than two of the risk factors listed below.
Remember, early detection is the key to life of good vision!
Risk Factors for AMD
(photo credit: The Doctors TV Show)
Dr Mulqueeny is friendly yet very professional. He cares about his patients and will take the time to talk and answer any questions. I would tell anyone to go see him.