Patient Success Story: Meet Mildred

by | Feb 13, 2018

Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans — more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. Presently, Macular Degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease.

Dr. Randy Katz, Florida Eye’s retina/vitreous specialist has always made it a point to discuss yearly eye exams as the key to preserving healthy eyesight. As Dr. Katz says in this month’s blog post, "Many adults put off getting annual eye exams, and this is the only way eye doctors can monitor for any changes in a patient’s vision. This can truly mean the difference between preserving sight and perhaps even losing it."

One of Dr. Katz’s patients who is living with AMD was kind enough to share her story with us, with the hopes that anyone reading this who has put off getting an annual eye exam, will pick up the phone and make an appointment with an eye care professional.

Patient Success Story:  Meet Mildred

It’s not every day you get to meet a wonder woman like 97-year-old Mildred Iceland. Mildred has been a patient of Florida Eye’s Dr. Randy Katz for more than ten years.

The active nonagenarian goes every 6-8 weeks to see Dr. Katz for injections in one eye, and she is thrilled with Dr. Katz and the fact that he has been able to control her AMD with the injections. "My older sister had Macular Degeneration as well — she lived in Miami. It started in her late 80’s and nothing was done about it.  The doctors missed it. She went completely blind in her mid-nineties." Mildred says that Dr. Katz was very aware of her family history, and he’s always watched her closely.

When Mildred was 17 she ran away from her very religious home in Washington Heights, hopped on a train and set down roots in Miami. This was in the 1930’s, and a young girl leaving her family home was a true rarity. Her son, Richard Iceland, says his mom was wild in her day. "Mom is a fascinating lady who would drive anywhere, do anything." Mildred did eventually return home to marry.

Richard, himself a patient of Dr. Jonathan Criss, shared his memories of his mother when she was younger. "Mom always worked. Dad had a toy store for a while and mom worked with him. Then she got a job of her own as a secretary. Didn’t like it. Later, when we moved to New Jersey, my mom worked for Faberge perfumes. She sat in a tiny cubbyhole. Fifteen years later she was the Vice President of Labor Relations with a suite of offices in the Burlington building in New York City."

"Mom relocated back to Florida after that job — in her 70’s. She was retired, got bored, and started hand writing letters – thousands of them – and started an insurance supplement business on her own which turned into a phenomenally successful business. She wrote letters to retirees (she bought mailing lists) — to anyone over 60, and sold Medicare supplements. She’d go to the house and sign them up, and as soon as they saw her, they signed. She was actually 71 when she started the business, and she did that for about 15 years. She never used a computer — all hand written letters."

Mildred loves to read, and go out for family dinners. She cruises regularly with her son and his wife Jane. She’s also a true snowbird, spending seven months in Tennessee, and the rest of her time in Delray Beach.

When asked what she was going to do to celebrate her upcoming 98th birthday, Mildred answered, "Breathe," without missing a beat.

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