Carl and Gloria had always worked as a team. They were very close that way—until macular degeneration suddenly entered their lives.

After several operations, injections into his eye, allergic reactions to medication, stress, fear, and uncertainty, all Carl can see is a fuzzy blob in his right eye and rapidly diminishing sight in the left.

A major part of Carl’s identity was his keen sense of observation. He didn’t want to lose that. Carl doesn’t want to be Gloria’s “blind” husband. He wants to be a husband, father, writer, and handyman, who also happens to be blind.

Gloria felt vision loss “changed the dynamic” in their marriage. Carl not only had to find a renewed sense of who he was; he and Gloria had to redefine their relationship. When Carl and Gloria learned about Second Sense’s counseling support group, Looking Ahead, they thought it sounded ideal.

Carl found Looking Ahead to be a great starting point in his adjustment process. He learned about the different training programs available to help him in his daily life. He learned coping strategies and how to ask for help without feeling helpless. He learned all this and so much more as part of a warm and supportive group of people who were experiencing the same fears and frustrations. One of the most important resources Carl heard about during Looking Ahead was orientation and mobility (O&M) training.

Carl worked with one of our O&M instructors for six months. They hit it off immediately. Carl appreciated the non-nonsense, methodical approach to training. Because Carl was still relying on the remaining vision in his left eye to navigate, he requested an eye patch to wear on his better eye during the training sessions. While terrifying, it was something that made perfect sense to Carl, as he knew one day soon he would lose most of the vision in that eye, too.

The idea of O&M training was frightening for Carl’s family as well. Gloria was afraid for Carl’s safety and their son did not want to see his father with a cane—he saw it as a sign of helplessness.

Because these reactions are very common, our O&M instructors invite family members to attend a training session. They saw Carl in action, confidently and safely crossing streets—easily finding his way without falling, without bumping into things, without endangering his life.

Gloria finds that she has accepted that this is the way things are—they are not going to change. Carl has always been a priority in her life; now her role has expanded. “We do things slightly different,” Gloria explains. “We don’t go to the movies, we watch DVDs so I can talk him through them and rewind when necessary.” “In some ways we are closer—we talk about everything.” Gloria explains. “Things that we would never discuss before are on the table. It is great to see how comfortable he is in public.”