June Brown health: Eastenders star reveals why she ‘can’t go out socially’
June Brown first joined the cast of EastEnders in 1985 as Dot Cotton, a hapless figure that is known for weathering life’s many storms through her faith. June’s portrayal of Dot has won the nation’s heart over the years, earning her numerous accolades, such as Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards, and the Lifetime Achievement award at the British Soap Awards. The actress shows no signs of retiring from the iconic role, despite battling a worsening health condition.
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June has suffered from macular degeneration for 10 years and despite a revolutionary operation in 2017 that saved her from going blind and helped her recognise faces again, things are now getting worse.
Opening about her condition to the Mirror Online, she said: “I’ve got very poor sight. I’ve got extra lenses inside my eyes to try to help me read better.
“They help with peripheral vision, but I’ve got no central vision. I can’t go out socially.
“I never go to soap awards now. I don’t recognise people I know and they would think that I was snubbing them.”
Revealing the extent to which it impacts her pastimes, June says she has to resort to getting her news from her Alexa because she cannot read the newspapers now.
What is macular degeneration?
According to the NHS age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects the middle part of your vision.
The condition, which usually first affects people in their 50s and 60s, doesn’t cause total blindness, but it can make everyday activities like reading and recognising faces difficult.
As the NHS explains, the first symptom is often a blurred or distorted area in your vision.
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Other symptoms include:
- Seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked
- Objects looking smaller than normal
- Colours seeming less bright than they used to
- Seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
How to treat it
Treatment depends on the type of AMD you have.
There are two types of AMD – wet AMD and dry AMD.
According to the Macular Society, people with wet AMD will often experience sudden changes in their vision, whereas people with dry AMD tend to experience a more gradual deterioration.
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The crucial distinction is that wet AMD can be treated, while there is no current cure for dry AMD.
According to the NHS, you may need regular eye injections for wet AMD, and, very occasionally, a light treatment called “photodynamic therapy” to stop your vision getting worse.
Although there’s no treatment for Dry AMD, vision aids can help reduce the effect on your life.
How to manage the condition
You should speak to your eye specialist about a referral to a low-vision clinic if you’re having difficulty with daily activities, advises the NHS.
Staff at the clinic can give useful advice and practical support.
For example, they can talk to you about:
- Useful devices – such as magnifying lenses
- Changes you can make to your home – such as brighter lighting
- Software and mobile apps that can make computers and phones easier to use
- According to the NHS, AMD is also often linked to an unhealthy lifestyle.
If you have it, try to:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Lose weight if you’re overweight
- Stop smoking if you smoke
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