Marlene started smoking in high school, with a lesson from a neighbor on how to inhale. Smoking seemed cool. Marlene continued to smoke as she married and raised children. Then at age 56, Marlene started to lose her vision. She had trouble reading; accidentally cut herself in the kitchen; and would fall, even when walking down only a few steps. She had developed an advanced eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can destroy the central vision you need to read, drive, or see people’s faces.
Marlene’s doctor told her to quit smoking if she wanted to keep even a small portion of her eyesight. When a new drug came out—a breakthrough that might slow her vision loss—Marlene was excited. “Okay. I take it by mouth?” Marlene asked. “No, we inject it in your eyes,” said the doctor.
To date, Marlene has had dozens of injections in each eye—and she’ll need even more shots each month to avoid further vision loss. Marlene hopes that sharing her story will help others quit smoking as soon as possible.