East Texas Seniors Meet, Discuss Blindness Epidemic

Seventy-three year old Ray Mitchell remembers clearly the day his life changed. "I was sitting in church on Sunday morning February the tenth," Mitchell says, "And I happened to glance over to the venetian blinds on the window and they were just jaggering every which way." Ray would soon be diagnosed with macular degeneration, and is

He was in attendance today at Rosewood Estates, as people gathered to talk about the disease that has become the number one cause of blindness for people over 55. Director Sandi Coates founded the organization after her mother was diagnosed twelve years ago. She calls macular degeneration a "mean disease".

"One day you're driving your car, and you're having a wonderful life," Sandi explains, "and the next morning you wake up and you can't see across

There are several experimental treatments available, but for now there is no easy answer for the victims, who have had their golden years rudely interrupted. For Ray Mitchell, it's the little things he misses the most. "The hardest thing to get used to was not being able to drive," he said, "because I'm 73 years old, I drove a car all of my life. I was a sales person in my car twelve, fourteen hours a day, so it's really been difficult to give

For now his wife will do the driving for both of them.