Karen Freedman

Retina Specialist Helps Ballroom Dancer Stay on the Dance Floor Despite Wet-AMD Diagnosis

 A ballroom dancer for 25 years, Karen Freedman has no plans of hanging up her dance shoes any time soon due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Karen has always made her health a priority, keeping physically fit through recreational and competitive dance and making sure to schedule regular check-ups with doctors including yearly eye exams.

Never far from her mind are the three generations of family members who suffered with dry AMD, the more common form of AMD that affects nearly 90 percent of people diagnosed with the condition.

“Caring for my vision and knowing how AMD could affect my sight has always been very real for me because my Mom has advanced dry AMD and cannot read or write anymore,” Karen said. “When my optometrist told me that I needed to see a retina specialist I wasn’t surprised and was glad to get the expert care I needed as early as possible.”

Initially diagnosed with dry AMD in both eyes, the condition progressed to wet AMD in one eye and Karen noticed vision issues including blurriness and difficulty reading small type on her TV and computer.

“Dr. Weng gave me a clear understanding of what was happening with my vision . . . she stressed the importance of following through with the treatment, and after a few months of injections I had a huge improvement in my vision.”

She was referred to ASRS member Dr. Christina Weng and started receiving monthly intravitreal injections, or eye injections, that can often preserve and even improve vision for many people with wet-AMD.

“Dr. Weng gave me a clear understanding of what was happening with my vision and what my treatment options were,” Karen said.  “She stressed the importance of following through with the treatment, and after a few months of injections I had a huge improvement in my vision.”

Karen appreciated Dr. Weng’s candidness and honesty when it came to her condition. She encourages anyone experiencing a retinal condition to seek out a retina specialist they truly believe in and advocate for themselves by alerting their doctor right away if they experience any symptoms.

“People ask me about getting eye injections for my AMD all the time and I tell them, it’s uncomfortable but it doesn’t seem like much of a trade off at all to preserve my vision,” she said. “I am a young 71-year-old and many of my relatives lived into their 90’s, so I plan on doing everything I can to maintain my vision throughout my life.”

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