Gordon Hobbs - the Later Years
During the last few years of my dads life, he was affected by a condition known as macular degeneration. The macula is found at the centre of the retina where the incoming rays of light are focused. The macula is responsible for:
what we see straight in front of us
the vision needed for detailed activities such as reading and writing, and
our ability to appreciate colour.
As people get older the delicate cells of the macula become damaged and stop working. This is called age-related macular degeneration. Because macular degeneration is an age-related process it usually involves both eyes, although they may not be affected at the same time. With many people the visual cells simply cease to function, like the colours fading in an old photograph - this is known as 'dry' degeneration. Sometimes there is scarring of the macula caused by leaking blood vessels and this is called disciform maculopathy.
My dads illness was not painful, and did not lead to total blindness. Although it is the most common cause of poor sight in people over 60 it never leads to complete sight loss because it is only the central vision that is affected. Macular degeneration never affects vision at the outer edges of the eye and so it meant that my Dad did have enough side vision to get around and keep his independence which he greatly valued. He obviously found the condition inconvenient as it meant that activities such as reading, writing and recognising small objects or faces very difficult.
Nevertheless he coped admirably with it. He also suffered with an arthritic hip, the result of a motorbike accident in his youth which eventually meant that he had to use a walking stick to get about.
In December 2014 a reader of this page passed on to me a cutting from the Yorkshire Post dated 7th July 1939. It explained why my dad lost his teeth at an early age and also his arthritic hip
The Sheffield Star carried a similar report
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This page was last updated on 22/12/14 15:48