Thomas (Tom) Rutherford
Rare form of adult on-set Best Disease is what three retinal
specialists have finally agreed on calling my condition.
Age at Diagnosis
20/200 (left), 20/50 (right)
Prognosis or Current State of
Complete loss of central vision in left eye within a two-year
period. Right eye is progressing almost same pace as did the left
Mother has dry AMD and glaucoma. We were diagnosed with our vision
problems within months of each other.
Impact on My Life
I had to alter my plans for a second career as a computer
programmer after retiring from an active duty military career. I
was in my senior year as a computer science (math) major when I
began having extreme vision problems. I plan to return to school
later on, but am now concentrating on enjoying the vision I have
left and spending time with my wife, daughters and
I have learned to enjoy things more fully that I once took for
granted. This encouraged me to quit smoking almost a year
Learning to live without driving. Getting used to audio books.
Having to give up hunting and limiting my fishing trips to safer
excursions. Having to rely on others to do things I once did for
myself. I am also a disabled veteran with chronic digestive
problems, arthritis, high blood pressure, and have limited use of
my left arm and hand due to a damaged ulnar nerve. All of these
disabilities hit me around my 40th birthday, so my life changed
drastically almost overnight.
I am retired from a 20-year military career and am currently
working on my writing--once a career goal--and have been writing
stage plays, short stories, poetry, and a novel.
More About Me
Married since 1979. My Laveda and I have two daughters, Melissa
and Shauna, and three foster children we helped raise Nancy, Susie,
and Jason. We also have one grandson (Cody Allen). After I had to
quit driving, my wife and I traveled around a lot with her doing
the driving. But in August of this year, she suffered a seizure and
since then she has also been unable to drive. Since we live where
there is no public transit, we are quite dependent on family and
friends for all our travel needs now and spend more time at home
enjoying each other's company.