Conditions

Young Man With Macular Degeneration Describes What It’s Like To Go Blind

blind
Macular degeneration causes blurred vision in the center of your eyesight, making it difficult to accomplish daily tasks like walking, reading, or even seeing people's facial expressions. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Macular degeneration — often called age-related macular degeneration — is typically found in Americans aged 60 or older. A disease that attacks your central vision, macular degeneration can lead to difficulties in completing daily tasks like reading, driving, and walking across the street, and can ultimately make you virtually blind.

Despite the fact that the disorder mainly affects older individuals, one 29-year-old suffers from a type of macular degeneration called conrad dystrophy. He’s struggled with partial blindness his entire life. Mark Muszynski describes his condition in a video, saying that his disorder is defined by a genetic mutation in his ABCA4 gene, which causes a loss of photoreceptor cells.

“What I see is… The central vision is sort of a blurred mish mosh of colors that is indistinguishable,” Muszynski says in the video. “Then around that, the rest of it’s pretty bad too.” Both of his eyes are of a different depth of vision as well, meaning on top of blurred vision, neither eye can properly focus on anything: “If you can imagine having one eye in a magnifying glass and one eye not in a magnifying glass, and trying to walk around like that. They’re constantly fighting for focus.”

On top of sharp sensitivity to light — which causes pain and extreme brightness whenever he goes outside — Muszynski also struggles with daily tasks. “Not being able to see well… It affects so many other parts of your life that you don’t even think about,” he says. He describes the difficulty of small things like being able to see the light change for the cross walk, differentiating between shampoo and conditioner bottles at hotels, and telling what’s happening in people’s facial expressions when he’s talking to them. But you’ll find that Muszynski is able to see his condition in a positive light, noting that the people around him are what matter.

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