hen Ronald Millar first saw Margaret across the playground, it was love at first sight.

“She was a gorgeous creature,” he says, remembering that day more than 60 years ago.

Now — after 58 years of marriage, two sons, and four grandchildren — Ronald and Margaret are still going strong, but Ronald’s sight isn’t what it once was.  
Last year, he began to notice a change in his ability to do household activities. “I couldn’t see the puck on the TV!” says Ronald, a Toronto Leafs fan. As an avid reader, Ronald also found he had trouble seeing the words on the page.

Ronald figured the symptoms were related to his cataracts, but after examining his eyes, his doctor discovered there was a deeper problem. Ronald had wet age-related macular degeneration — the condition that had caused his grandfather to go blind.

When Ronald found out his condition could lead to a complete loss of sight, his reaction was summed up in one word: scared. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to drive my car and be independent,” he says.

Visionary treatment

In the past, wet AMD was considered untreatable and would lead to blindness for the majority of patients within a matter of years. However, breakthrough procedures now can not only stop the progression of this condition but, in some cases, restore a patient’s vision. Ronald’s physician opted for the latest available anti-VEGF injection therapy approved by Health Canada. These shots use a protein that naturally occurs in the body, called vascular endothelial growth factor, to stop the new blood vessels from forming under the retina and causing leakage. A few months after getting regular injections, Ronald’s eyes began to recover.
“My vision improved,” says Ronald. “I could see!” The groundbreaking wet AMD treatment means Ronald can continue life as normal with Margaret. “It hasn’t gotten bad like his grandfather’s,” says Margaret. “And, hopefully it won’t with this new drug.”

A great view

Just over a year later, Ronald is still getting injections every six weeks in his right eye and is back doing the hobbies he loves. “It has really worked wonders,” says Margaret. He takes care of the garden, can read comfortably, and often does wood carvings — all tasks that would have been challenging, if not impossible, had his wet AMD progressed. His most recent wooden creation? Detailed heads of Snow White’s seven dwarves.

With Ronald’s wet AMD getting treated, their vision of the future is clear and full of possibilities. “I’m doing everything” he says. “And, he passed his licence!” adds Margaret.

Presented by the International Federation on Ageing - Feature Supported by Bayer