Bert s Eye View: Coping with Macular Degeneration

By Bert Silverman

I am just an ordinary guy afflicted with age related macular degeneration, although I am happy to say my grandchildren like to think of me as an extraordinary guy. This quote is taken from the first line of my book Bert s Eye View: Coping with Macular Degeneration. I wrote this book several years ago because of my ambition to guide, assist, and be a positive role model for other people who have been afflicted with low vision problems, especially Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). My ophthalmologist Dr. Walter Schuyler encouraged me to write this book because he realized he could no longer help me or answer any of my questions, but knew I could be an inspiration to others because of my unique outlook on life with AMD.

I am currently 93 years old and legally blind. When I was only 70, I was diagnosed with AMD. At first the disease progressed quite slowly, but all the while I was prepared to come to terms with the eventual worsening of my condition. During this time I would visit with Dr. Schuyler and Dr. Frederick Miller, constantly asking them questions about AMD. During one of my appointments with Dr. Schuyler, he noticed that although my vision was deteriorating, my acceptance and optimistic attitude were increasingly coming to light. It was then that Dr. Schuyler suggested that even though I would eventually lose most of my eyesight he could envision something positive coming from all of this. My book, Bert s Eye View: Coping with Macular Degeneration is the product of that appointment. Dr. Schuyler noticed my unique ability to cope, and that is how I developed my motto, Cope, don t mope, there s hope! This is how I have lived for 23 years with this disease.

With support from family and friends I wrote this book so I could share with others my experiences and how I have managed with AMD. Since its publication in 1997 I have donated my time and efforts to helping others who are afflicted with this disease and other low vision conditions. The book offers many useful suggestions about how to go about one s daily activities and recreation. I show you how to adapt and adjust to life in a different way and not to feel that living with AMD should be a handicap. The book contains a wonderful medical introduction by Drs. Schuyler and Miller, both leading ophthalmologists in Maine, and the end of the book provides excellent resources. I donate 100% of my proceeds from the book to the Iris Network (formerly The Maine Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired).

One of my greatest joys and sense of accomplishment has been my ability to go out and spread my positive attitude to others who face the devastation of vision loss. I have been interviewed several times on the Jordan Rich Show on WBZ Boston radio, Maine Public Radio and Television, and Maine NBC and CBS affiliates. In addition I have spoken and held book signing sessions at book stores such as Borders and Barnes and Noble. However I get most satisfaction from speaking at numerous low vision support groups, senior citizen groups, and senior living facilities. There I am able to talk with and answer questions from peers who are facing the identical situation as I have. I have been told that my calm demeanor and optimism have given audience members a positive outlook for their futures. They too learn that they can cope rather than mope as they face the reality of low vision or legal blindness. My goal has been to help others through the dark days of diagnosis and showing them that we can remain active, vital, and productive people despite a disability. We can cope because there is always hope.

You may order copies of Bert s Eye View: Coping with Macular Degeneration through the Iris Network, 189 Park Avenue, Portland, Maine 04102 or by calling them at 1-207-774-6273. The cost is $10.95 plus $2.00 shipping and handling. If you would like to contact Bert, you may get in touch with him at 240 Lynnfield Street, #318, Peabody, Mass. 01960, or you may call him at 1 978-854 1751.

Bert receives excellent eye care and vision services at the New England Eye Center at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston. NEEC has other locations to conveniently serve you. You are welcome to call the Center s main number at 617-636-4600 and visit their website at:


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