Macular degeneration is an eye condition, usually affecting older adults, that leads to vision loss. It is prevalent around the world with as many as 11 million Americans estimated to have some form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Worldwide, an estimated 196 million people will have AMD five years from now or by the year 2020.
Celebrities with macular degeneration include the following:
Roseanne Barr, actress/comedian. In a recent interview with the Daily Beast, American actress Roseanne Barr reveals that she’s using marijuana as a medicine for her glaucoma as well as her macular degeneration:
I have macular degeneration and glaucoma, so it’s good for me for that because I have pressure in my eyes. It’s a good medicine for a lot of things.
My vision is closing in now. It’s something weird. But there are other weird things. That one’s harsh, ’cause I read a lot, and then I thought, ‘Well, I guess I could hire somebody to read for me and read to me.’ But I like words and I like looking. You do what you have to do. I just try and enjoy vision as much as possible — y’know, living it up. My dad had it, too.
Related post on treatments for macular degeneration: Stem Cell Therapy for Macular Degeneration?
Dame Judi Dench, British actress. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the Academy Award-winning actress has this to say about living with macular degeneration:
I never want to make much of it, but it is difficult — very, very difficult. I can’t read anymore. I can’t paint like I used to. I try to watch movies, but it’s quite difficult. But these are all of the negatives. I don’t want to really think about all that. What I can do, I do. And I somehow get by.
She adds in an interview with People Magazine:
My eyes only affect me if I’m somewhere dark and there are steps and I don’t see very well. I couldn’t go on the [London] Underground now without somebody because I couldn’t work a machine. I can’t see to do it. But fortunately, I get somebody to come with me – ask any of my friends or family. I’m not going to make it something that’s going to stop me.
Ernest Borgnine, actor. Like Dame Judi, Ernest bagged an acting award from the Academy. Like Dame Judi, he was also diagnosed with macular degeneration. He was named as the spokesperson of the National Eye Institute and, in such a capacity, starred in a video aimed at making people aware of the dangers of macular degeneration.
According to newsmax.com, Borgnine used vitamin supplements to stop macular degeneration from progressing. Borgnine succumbed to kidney failure in 2012. He was 95 years old.
Stephen King, author. Responding to an oft-repeated question whether he is going blind, the prolific author had this to say via his website:
No, I’m not. I have a predisposition–and it’s a genetic thing–to macular degeneration and that’s a disease you can read about on the internet. It eventually results in blind spots and a loss of vision but I don’t have any of the symptoms yet-just that predisposition and I think it’s something that I may have to face in the future, but, no, I’m not going blind.
Bob Hope, actor/comedian. The great comedian had recurring eye problems towards the end of his career. He reportedly said the following: “I’ve got a hemorrhage in the right eye now, and I used to have one in the left eye. I’m a walking hemorrhage.”
From 1960 onwards, the great comedian served as honorary chairman for Fight for Sight, a non-profit organization established in the 1940s to promote eye research.