How does low vision affect daily life?
While people with low vision are not considered to be totally blind, often the poor quality of their vision makes it incredibly challenging to complete common daily tasks including reading, writing, cooking and housework, watching television, driving or even recognizing people. The adjustment can be especially hard for those who suddenly lose their vision.
The good news is there are numerous resources and products available to assist individuals with low vision often by enhancing the small amount of vision that is intact.
Visual aids enable millions of people who suffer from low vision to be able to function and live relatively normal lives, by maximizing their remaining eyesight. A low vision specialist can do a low vision eye exam and provide specialized glasses or tints to optimize vision, or recommend quality magnifiers with appropriate magnification and working distance. Full spectrum lighting or magnifiers with an attached light source are often used to aid individuals with low vision. You can also get special lens tints, which are used to enhance contrast and reduce glare, with special coatings for specific conditions. Other low vision aids act as guides to help the person focus on non-visual cues, such as sound or feel.
Many people unfortunately try a “trial and error” method of purchasing “dollar store” readers or magnifiers when it comes to enhancing their vision, but these “one size fits all” approach to finding vision aids usually leads to frustration.
The fact is, there is a systematic approach to finding the right visual aid, which is a matter of consulting with a low vision specialist to determine what works for each individual and their daily needs. You should make an appointment with a low vision specialist for an evaluation that will help determine how much vision you have left so they can assist you with finding the correct visual aids for your particular vision loss that will help you live the life you want to live and do the things you want to do.
In the meantime, if you or a loved one suffers from low vision, here are some ways to make life with low vision easier
Adjust to Better Lighting.
Ensure that your home is well lit. This may require some trial and error with different lights and voltages to determine what works best for you.
Use a magnifier.
There is a vast selection of magnifiers available, ranging from hand-held to stand magnifiers. Binoculars and spectacle mounted magnifiers are also an option. Your low vision specialist can recommend which magnifier is right for you.
Using Your Computer
If using a computer, software programs such as ZoomText have been designed for those with low vision and have features such as colored background choices, screen contents that can be enlarged up to 10X, and an audio reader to name a few. www.zoomtext.com
There are also keyboards available with large key letters or you can purchase large key letter stickers that you place over the keys on your existing keyboard. You can buy them on Amazon.
Search for: English US Large Letters White Keyboard Stickers
Reading & Writing
Use large print books for reading. Alternatively, try digital recordings, mp3s, or audio books.
Make use of high contrast for writing. Try writing in large letters using a bold point black pen on a white piece of paper or board.
High-Contrast For The Home
Add a high-contrast stripe on steps (bright color on dark staircase, or black stripe on light stairs) can prevent falls in people with low vision, and may enable those who suffer to remain independent in their home.
Department of Blind Services Assistance
Find out what kind of help is available to those with low vision by contacting your state’s Department of Blind Services or other visual impairment pogroms they might offer. Here is a link to Florida’s department.
If you or a loved one has low vision, don’t despair. Be sure to consult with a low vision specialist about the best course of action to take to simplify life with low vision.