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Thomas (Tom) Rutherford

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Malvern, Arkansas

Rare form of adult on-set Best Disease is what three retinal specialists have finally agreed on calling my condition.

Eyes Affected

Eye Color

Age at Diagnosis

Visual Acuity
20/200 (left), 20/50 (right)


Prognosis or Current State of Vision
Complete loss of central vision in left eye within a two-year period. Right eye is progressing almost same pace as did the left eye.

Family History
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 grandson.

Positive Effects
I have learned to enjoy things more fully that I once took for granted. This encouraged me to quit smoking almost a year ago.

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.

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