A WOMAN, who couldn’t see well enough to cross the road on her own because of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), now can travel independently thanks to a revolutionary eye operation at the London Eye Hospital.
Judith Lowe, 62, from Farnham, has struggled with poor vision for most of her life and worn glasses for as long as she can remember.
At 39, she was diagnosed with a condition called Drusen (yellow deposits in the retina), but did not realise this was also the start of AMD, the leading cause of blindness in the developed world.
After being diagnosed with end-stage AMD in her 50s, she decided that rather than put up with painful eye injections for the rest of her life she would try the revolutionary eyeMax Mono lens to help restore her sight.
A routine eye test at 39, revealed abnormalities and her optician sent her to the local eye clinic.
Judith said: “The consultant told me that they couldn’t help as Drusen was all part of the ageing process, so that was it until 2003.
“There was no treatment for Drusen and so I didn’t think about it for a while. I was young and busy with a one-year-old child so I walked away from it.
“Then when I was almost 50, I couldn’t sleep one night and woke up seeing curvy lines. I went straight to the hospital and was told I had macular degeneration and that I would lose 80 per cent of my sight. It was terrifying.”
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive condition that affects the central vision, eventually leading to loss of sight. There is currently no cure for it.
Judith was offered regular eye injections to help her vision – first Avastin and more recently Lucentis.
Her vision continued to deteriorate however and by 2008/9 she had developed End-Stage AMD – the most advanced form of macular degeneration and the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in individuals over the age of 65.
Her mother – who was also struggling with macular degeneration at 80 – had read about LEH treatments in a newspaper and encouraged her daughter to look into it.
Judith booked in for a consultation and was advised to have the eyeMax Mono lens implanted in both eyes. The eyeMax Mono is a state-of-the-art and the world’s first single lens implant.
The eyeMax Mono offers patients some protection against future disease progression, buying the patient more time against AMD-related vision loss.
Judith continued: “I’ve had so many eye injections, I was worried it would hurt and be the same but it wasn’t.
“They tell you what’s happening every step of the way. I’m a wuss and thought I may not go back for the second operation, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. There was an improvement in my vision but not straight away.
“I had minimal vision in my left eye, just a small crescent on the outside of the eye, but within a week of the op I had 80 per cent vision and I could see properly.
“The main benefit is I can now get around without relying on my husband. To get my independence back has been brilliant. I’ve done the clinic visits by myself – I’ve not been able to go to London on my own for ages, it’s fantastic,” she concluded.