Readers Cast

AMD AND THE FLY FISHERMAN

Neil Sutherland - February 7, 2011

AMD : (Age-related Macular Degeneration)

I tried a magnifier light. I tried clip-on magnifying lenses. I finally had to admit that my vision was deteriorating. I believe that some of you can relate to the following examples: - I had great difficulty threading 4lb leader through the eye of a #8 hook. Thoughts of tying or tying-on one of Neil Travis’ #28 dry flies were dismissed as impossible. When creating a fly with my nose 12" from the vise, the tip of my bobbin was about ¼" away from where I thought it was. Did I need a new prescription for glasses? I made an appointment and saw my optometrist. After an examination he immediately made a call to a Retina Specialist and I had an appointment with a well renowned ophthalmologist on the following morning.

I was diagnosed with the “wet” variety of AMD and I was booked immediately for a series of three injections of Lucentis into my left eye at monthly intervals. The intent of these injections is to “dry-up” the leaking blood vessels. Being familiar with the usual wait to see a specialist in Canada, I was very surprised with this response. The Canadian health care system is due praise for this quick response. Also, on my prescription receipt for the Lucentis I could see that the Lucentis was priced at over $1800 an injection and I was asked to pay only $25. Having injections directly into the eye doesn’t sound like fun but I suffered only slight discomfort for about one day.

To those of you wishing to read up on AMD, I refer you to National Eye Institute website at http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts.asp.

My recommendations are that aging fly fishermen get an Amsler grid (see the NEI article) and stick it on the ‘frig. If you see wavy lines or a blurred spot, make an appointment right away with an eye-care practitioner.

For me, I have one more injection to go and then, I presume, I’ll need new glasses. We will see if my tying days are over. As far as tying on flies, for a stillwater nymph fisherman who likes to be in the boat by myself, I’ll just have to get used to the buddy system.

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