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Woman with glasses sitting in chair at desk looking at laptop
Stock photo. Posed by model.


Wet macular degeneration can affect various aspects of your day-to-day life, especially if you have a job. Changing vision can pose unique challenges at work: reading from a screen may become more difficult as the condition progresses, and doctor appointments may not always easily fit into your schedule. Even so, each person’s experience with wet macular degeneration is unique and there are ways to minimize its disruption to your career. With the use of technology and some support from your employer, you can likely continue to work while managing your wet macular degeneration.

Here are some tips for managing wet macular degeneration symptoms while on the job:1

  • Increase the font size on your computer and, if possible, use an easy-to-read font such as Courier. Print documents out for easier reading.
  • Have your computer or phone read your emails and documents aloud to you by using text-to-speech applications. If you work in an office setting, bring headphones with you so you can listen without distracting others.
  • Change the contrast of your computer screen. Try using white type against a black background, which may reduce glare and improve contrast. Additionally, try to avoid sitting near or facing a window, since the sunlight can cause more glare.
  • Discuss your diagnosis with your employer. It might be a difficult conversation, but if your boss is aware of the condition, they can better support you and understand your needs. You may need to take additional time off for doctor’s appointments. Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for help.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind while balancing your wet macular degeneration and your career:

  • Remember that doctor’s appointments are a top priority and will help you manage your wet macular degeneration and vision maintenance.2 Try to schedule them around your work hours and set alerts so they don’t get missed. If finding the time is an issue, talk to your manager or Human Resources department to see if your schedule can be adjusted.
  • Take care of your mental health as well as your physical health and talk to a professional if you are feeling particularly stressed or sad. A wet macular degeneration diagnosis can be stressful on its own, but the added stress of a job can be especially overwhelming. Make sure you have outlets for emotional and psychological support. For more on finding these outlets, click here.
  • If you cannot drive, make sure you have reliable transportation to and from work, as well as to and from the doctor’s office. You could try public transportation, carpooling with someone you know, or explore local ride share options. Click here to learn more on building a support network, and here for more on traveling with wet AMD.

Depending on your disease progression, you might consider talking to your employer or Human Resources department about accommodations. If your job requires operating machinery or driving, speak with your doctor to determine if it is safe for you to continue working. This diagnosis should not discourage you, though—there are many different ways to continue working while making your health a top priority.


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References:

  1. Reference: Kirkpatrick A, O Connor J, Campbell A, Cooper M. W3C 2018. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Available at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/. Accessed September 2019.
     
  2. Kim R. Introduction, mechanism of action and rationale for anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs in age-related macular degeneration. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2007;55(6):413-415.
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