Readers Cast


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

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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