Saying she's trying to enjoy her vision as much as possible, Roseanne Barr has revealed that she is slowly losing her sight.
Barr said that while her field of vision is starting to narrow, doctors are unclear how long she has before full blindness sets in.
"It’s something weird. But there are other weird things," she said. "That one’s harsh, ’cause I read a lot, and then I thought, ‘Well, I guess I could hire somebody to read for me and read to me.’ But I like words and I like looking. You do what you have to do. I just try and enjoy vision as much as possible—y’know, living it up. My dad had it, too."
According to the National Eye Institute, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of vision loss for people over 50, impacting some 7.2 million Americans. The disease progresses differently for everyone; with some instances happening rapidly and others taking a long time to develop into a serious issue. As indicated in a recent tweet, Barr apparently has the latter version.
ARMD impacts our central vision, the part we need to see objects straight on. While the condition doesn't by itself generally lead to total blindness, the fact that Barr also has glaucoma (which degrades side vision) is the reason why she expects she'll one day lose her sight completely.
To avoid vision loss, doctors say a healthy diet and exercise are your best weapons. Tips include eating more fish, consuming leafy greens like spinach and collards, avoiding cigarette smoke, and grabbing a pair of sunglasses when you head outside.
"Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when in the sun," writes MNN's Jennifer Nelson in a helpful piece addressing eye health. "They’ll reduce your exposure to eye damaging UV/UVA rays up to 18-fold."
As for those who have the disease, scientists are making progress in treating ARMD using stem cell therapy. In one trial using lab rats, researchers were able to stop the progression of macular degeneration for 130 days — the equivalent of 16 human years.
“Though additional pre-clinical data is needed, our institute is close to a time when we can offer adult stem cells as a promising source for personalized therapies for this and other human diseases,” said Clive Svendsen, a contributing author on the study.
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