Ways To Live With Low Vision
By Stephanie Stegman, MOT, OTR/L · February 27, 2020
Eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy can cause impaired vision and make it difficult to perform daily tasks. Occupational therapists can help those with low vision best use their remaining vision, however, limited, to be as successful and independent as possible in daily life. Occupational therapists will assist with adapting the task or the environment, provide training in low vision equipment such as lighting and magnifiers, and teach visual techniques such as eccentric viewing, tracking or scanning. Here are a few tips for those living with low vision:
Ensure that you have adequate lighting in the room but also directly on the task you are working on. Make sure the task lighting is below the level of your eyes to reduce glare. There are many different colors, shades, strengths, and types of light bulbs. Consult with an occupational therapist to help you pick the optimal one for your vision.
Adding contrasting colors to your environment can make it easier to distinguish changes in surfaces and locating items. You can use colored tape to mark the edge of stairs or at the bottom of your pill organizer to make it easier to see your medications. Use items with good contrast for the activity such as a light cutting board for dark foods or black measuring cups for measuring flour and sugar.
Keep clutter out of walkways to reduce your fall risk and keep items in consistent spaces to make them easier to locate. Organize your closet by color and use hanger tags to label the different color sections.
Adding texture to items can make it easier to locate and manipulate. For kitchen appliances, add a dab of puff paint or a bump dot sticker on frequently used buttons or dial settings.
Many items are available with audio features to make them easier to access for people with low vision. Consider using a talking watch, talking alarm clock, or books on tape. Local libraries, as well as the Wolfner Library in Jefferson City, have a variety of free audiobook options available to people across the state.
There are many accessibility features already built into standard computers and smartphones as well as a variety of free or low-cost apps available to assist people with low vision. There are apps that turn your phone into a magnifier, scan and speak denominations of money, and even apps that scan and identify colors or items.
Even a small change in vision can have a big impact on function but there are many resources available to help maintain your independence.
Learn about our Low Vision Services…Categories: OT Clinical Services