What did legendary comedian Bob Hope, comic actor Don Knotts, renowned artist Georgia O’Keefe, and golfer Sam Snead have in common?
Well, one thing they shared was success in their respective fields, but that’s not all: Each of them thrived after being diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
In an article for The Senior Coalition Advocate, AMD expert Dr. Bruce P. Rosenthal says the lives of those celebrities, and others, illustrate that people can be very productive for many years following an AMD diagnosis.
For instance, Rosenthal writes that Don Knotts, TV’s “Barney Fife,” continued his television career for over 25 years after being diagnosed with AMD in his fifties. Bob Hope entertained millions (and played golf) into his nineties. Snead was one of the top golfers in the world for most of four decades and died just four days shy of his 90th birthday.
And, remarkably, Georgia O’Keefe continued to paint even while afflicted with AMD. She related, “It’s like there are little holes in my vision. I can’t see straight on very well but around the edges are little holes where I can see quite clearly.”
Rosenthal also cites actress Jane Russell and legendary Time/Life editor Henry Grunwald as other celebrities who learned to live very well with AMD; in fact, Grunwald wrote three books, including his autobiography, while suffering from profound vision loss.
The key to thriving with AMD, Rosenthal says, is to learn as much as you can about the disease.
“Knowing more about AMD will empower you, a loved one, family member or friend to continue to enjoy every day,” he writes.
At Acucela we are focused on developing new treatments for AMD and other devastating eye diseases. Our hope is that it won’t be too long before people with those disease will be able to treat them and halt the devastating progression of vision loss, rather than have to learn to live with these conditions; but, in the meantime, we certainly agree that learning as much as you can is very important.
You can find out more about AMD on our website and the site of the National Eye Institute. Dr. Rosenthal’s article also contains a great deal of information about the disease, as do these resources he recommends: Lighthouse International and AMD Alliance International.