Patient Story: What Macular Degeneration & Treatment Looks Like

Dr. McGregor Lott and macular degeneration patient Leland Reineke

Leland Reineke moved from Ohio to Ponte Vedra Beach to get out of the cold and enjoy golfing, fishing, and the active lifestyle that Jacksonville has to offer. But, shortly after moving, a degenerative eye condition threatened his new way of life. Suddenly his vision in his left eye deteriorated until he was unable to drive, follow a golf ball with his eyes, read or write. His vision went from 20/20 to 20/300 in less than three months.

“If there was a bird in the sky I would see two or three,” Reineke said. “Vision is something people take for granted until it starts to disappear.”

Diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration

Reineke was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (also known as AMD). Macular degeneration is the leading cause of age-related vision loss in America. As many as 11 million people have some form of this condition, but it is not widely known. Reinke developed “wet” macular degeneration, the more rapid and severe form of the condition. 

“When I was diagnosed, I panicked, and my wife panicked,” Reineke said. “My mother, aunt and uncle all went blind from this, and my eyesight went so bad so fast. The thought of not being able to read, watch TV, play golf, drive a car…it’s a scary thought.”

AMD centers around the macula, which is the part of the eye that is used to see fine detail and gives us our ability to read, drive, watch TV, use a computer, and recognize faces. AMD primarily affects central vision, causing blind spots directly ahead. This type of vision loss can be severe and irreversible if left untreated, making early detection critical.

AMD treatment options put relief in sight

Reineke went to Dr. McGregor Lott, M.D., one of the medical retina specialists here at Florida Eye Specialists. Dr. Lott quickly moved into action, telling Reineke they needed to treat him right away because otherwise, he might not ever be able to see on his own again.

Dr. Lott explained that Reineke’s “wet” type of macular degeneration is known for causing fluid leaks in the eye, and in some cases, can lead to a loss of vision seemingly overnight. Having wet macular degeneration meant Reineke was eligible for ocular injections, which inhibit new blood vessels that cause leaking in the eye.

The second type of macular degeneration is called the “dry” type. The dry type is more common and progresses gradually, with patients often noticing blurred vision or a central blind spot that slowly increases in size over a few years. The best treatment for the dry type includes diet changes and a combination of vitamins and minerals, which have been found to help slow the progression of vision loss.

“Dr. Lott explained everything. Now I don’t panic. I’m in good hands and the treatment works,” Reineke said. “Dr. Lott and the crew at Florida Eye Specialists are the best I’ve ever been around. As an individual, he sits you down and tells you exactly what’s going on and what you can expect. He takes the time to put you at ease and take away the panic. I can’t speak highly enough of him. The whole team treats me like family, and it’s been a wonderful experience.”

Vision success starts with getting your eyes checked

Reineke has been seeing Dr. Lott for regular eye treatments for over two years. He went from having 20/300 vision to 20/25, and can now see clearly to enjoy his active lifestyle again.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” Reineke said. “I can see with both eyes. I play golf, and I can see the ball all the way to the green. It’s given me a new lease on life.”

Reineke recommends that anyone who notices changes in their vision sees their eye doctor right away. He also uses the Amsler Grid to help check his vision. It is an at-home eye test patients can use to quickly and easily track vision changes between appointments. You can print one for free from our resources.

According to Dr. Lott, cases of macular degeneration are increasing, and the condition has the potential to rob patients of their independence. 

“People should be aware and get themselves checked,” Dr. Lott said.

If you think you may be at risk for macular degeneration, don’t wait. There are advanced treatment options that can help preserve your sight and allow you to enjoy the activities you love. Our providers, like Dr. McGregor Lott, take the time to give you the personalized attention you deserve. Schedule an appointment today.