Living with Low Vision
There are many people that are living and thriving with low vision. If you are having difficulty with things such as reading, using your cell phone or computer, or managing glare, there are strategies that can help. Sample low-vision tips include:
Make things brighter or increase contrast
- Improve lighting by using a task lamp or carry a pocket flashlight to shine bright light on your task.
- Reduce glare by covering shiny counters.
- Try yellow, amber, rose, or plum tinted glasses or clip-ons.
- Visors are useful indoors or outdoors.
- Use a black rollerball or felt pen, not a ballpoint.
- Draw a dark line where you need to sign.
- Use a white cup for coffee.
Make Things Bigger
- Sit close to the TV and up front at performances
- Get large print checks, playing cards, bingo cards, crosswords, calendars and books and large phone dial, TV remotes, and keyboards.
- Get an e-reader or electronic tablet for books and enlarge text.
- Use a lighted handheld magnifier for price tags and menus, a stand magnifier or video magnifier for reading text, or magnification on your computer.
- Designate a spot for everything. Minimize clutter.
- Mark thermostats and dials with tactile marking paint from the fabric store.
- Label medications with markers or rubber bands.
- Safety-pin the labels of similar-colored clothing.
Make things safer
- Use pots and pans with heat-resistant handles and knobs to maximize safety in the kitchen.
- Remove potential obstacles, such as coffee tables, footrests, and stools to avoid injury.
- Pin down or remove area rugs to avoid tripping over them.
- Make the Most of Remaining Vision
- When the center of your vision is obscured by a blind spot, you can use the “next-best spot”. Adapting to using noncentral vision can be challenging. Vision rehabilitation can assist you to use your remaining vision optimally.
Use other senses
- Get books and magazines in audio format.
- Get a talking watch, calculator, glucometer or use audio screen readers to listen to your computer or cell phone texts.
- Make use your sense of touch by making raised markers on your keyboard or typewriter.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Keep your social group, volunteer job, golf or bowling. You might need large print, a magnifier, a ride or someone to spot your ball, so ask for the help you need.
- Staying home to avoid asking for help is not independence. Friends are honored to be asked.
Driving and Alternative Transportation
- Pick your times and routes carefully and use a GPS if you are still able to drive.
- Know when to stop. If driving is difficult, cars appear unexpectedly, drivers honk at you or you are having fender-benders, consider alternatives.
- Sell your car and with the money you are saving by not paying car insurance take a taxi, buy gas for a friend who drives or hire a part-time driver.
- Try a 3-wheel bike or electric scooter.
- Walk when you can.
For Family and Friends
- To keep up their spirits, your loved one needs to be empowered to do as much as possible independently.
- Recognize the challenge of vision loss and offer help, but don’t take over their tasks. Instead help them make the adaptations necessary to accomplish them on their own.
Seek out Help
- Find additional local and national resources to help. You don’t have to figure this all out, lean on the experience of others and your community.
- Give us a call at (616) 954-2020 and we will assist you in any way that we can.