Sight is the sense that people fear losing the most, and a diagnosis of any degenerative eye disease is devastating, sending many spiraling into depression. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the most prevalent causes of vision loss, and the numbers afflicted are rising, due to the aging of our population. Most of us know someone with this diagnosis.
In Twilight: Losing Sight, Gaining Insight, Henry Grunwald movingly recounts his own experience with AMD, from first realization, diagnosis, gaining knowledge, and ultimately, coping with greatly impaired vision. Henry’s willingness to speak openly and eloquently about his experience, including the vulnerability and awkwardness that accompany the physical manifestations of the disease, is powerful and meaningful to the fifteen million Americans who suffer from AMD and other vision impairment. Not only can they personally relate to what Henry recounts, but the book also provides solace, and information.
No one else has told the story the way Henry has. Anyone who reads or listens to this book comes away with a deeper understanding of the effects of AMD and the growing sense of isolation it can cause. Those who have AMD are moved and encouraged, and find great comfort in accompanying Henry on his journey, finding inspiration in sharing his humor and insights. The experiences Henry describes are especially meaningful to help family and friends better understand the clouded world their loved one now navigates.
Henry describes this poignantly, likening his desire to read as the visual equivalent of struggling for breath. Henry came to the Lighthouse many times in his quest to find better ways to read and manage daily tasks. Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, Chief of Low Vision Programs at the Lighthouse, recalls Henry’s strong desire to try every possible device that could help. Henry’s intellect, curiosity, and determination were always evident. He was constantly experimenting with new devices that would help him independently consume the written word. Those here at the Lighthouse who knew him are forever touched by his presence, and by the messages that he communicates so beautifully in Twilight.
The Lighthouse applauds Vintage Books for making Twilight available in a range of options (digital and audio) so that an even greater audience can gain courage and hope. Since this book was first published in 1999, there have been strides in medical treatment for AMD that can slow the advancement of the disease. However, those with AMD still face significant vision impairment and need to find alternative ways to do the things they love. Advances in technology are being made every day that do provide more options for AMD patients to "read." The Lighthouse is proud to bring together a range of services under the Henry A. Grunwald Resource and Technology Center. This new center will provide access to the insights and lessons of Twilight and importantly, honor the memory of this great man whose voice continues to be an inspiration.
Mark G. Ackermann
President and CEO, Lighthouse International