Macular degeneration is a major cause of vision loss in the United States. In this video, icyou introduces Modie Risher, a man who lost his eyesight to this disease.
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Rebecca Fox: When Modie Risher began to lose his eyesight he thought perhaps it was a natural part of ageing, after all Risher has just retried after his 33 distinguish years of teaching. But one day, it was a signal he missed that signal something more was happening with his eyes. Modie Risher: The light, the yellow lights I could see very good, but the green and the red, I would have to get to go -- slower and get to the -- closer to the light to see them. And then one day, I ran a red light so after that, I got the message. Rebecca Fox: After numerous test and a visit to a specialist in New York, the message was that Risher had macular degeneration. Modie Risher: And he send me back, he said, alright when you go back you don't have to -- had not let anybody to operate on you because this is here to stay. Rebecca Fox: It was then Risher the educator became Risher the student by turning to the commission for the blind for training on how to live in the slowly dimming world. His lessons range from reading braille to guiding himself alone across the street. Modie Risher: They were take you in the middle of the block, right and cars are coming down, and they will let you stand there and listen to use your ears. Now they are right there with you. Okay, you don't know about it, it's the beginning. Now just listen, you can hear the cars, and listen to the car this way, and listen the car -- and then when you get set, you can cross and in that way you get a sense, because there are times when you may find yourself at a cross roadway. You've got to cross the speed, there is no one's there, you got a problem and you got to go across and I did it pretty good, even if I must say so. Rebecca Fox: But this respected teacher and athlete admit, even with training and caution, life for the visually impaired is filled with obstacles that sometimes bring tragic consequences. Modie Risher: A friend of mine, he crossed the street the way they taught us, but there was a light where you can turn right on a red -- this person came -- a running stop, turn the corner and boom! Hit him. And that is one reason I can say it now, that I have not been out with my cane alone, since I left Outreach, that really shook me up. My wife, who is the wind beneath my wings, we've been almost -- we have been together every time. I had been with her instead of a cane I could hold her arm. Rebecca Fox: Risher said, "Support systems are key." He slips into the role of educator once more and giving this advice to others experiencing eye problems. Modie Risher: Do not sit and wait, don't think and don't use over the counter, go to a doctor, and don't listen at the radio, there are so many things you hear that this can do this, this can take care of this, and I say this to anyone who is blind now. If you see this, don't sit home, don't be a couch potato, because when you think about it life is hard and then you die, and this time is too short, when you think about it. Rebecca Fox: And he hopes you will. For icyou.com I am Rebecca Fox.