Dealing with vision loss is challenging. For people with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or another vision problem, low-vision aids can help optimize remaining vision and improve the ability to perform daily activities.
Some examples of low-vision aids are telescopes, closed-circuit televisions (a small television camera is mounted on a movable tray; documents or other objects are moved under the camera and viewed on a small monitor), magnifying glasses, clocks and phones with large numbers, and large-print reading materials. Telescopes and closed-circuit televisions require an evaluation and prescription from an eye care professional as well as training in how to use them.
Many low-vision aids are available through low-vision clinics and low-vision rehabilitation services. Researchers are also testing implantation of a miniature telescope into damaged eyes.
Mild vision impairment has little effect on day-to-day activities, but moderate to severe vision impairment can make it difficult for people to perform common household tasks. Ophthalmologists and low-vision counselors recommend these simple, practical strategies to help patients with low vision maintain their independence.
- Always leave doors completely open or completely closed. This reduces the risk of accidentally walking into the door edge if you have low vision.
- Tack down loose rugs and use non-slip mats beneath them. Or you can hold down rugs with furniture to prevent slipping and tripping.
- Tape a colorful piece of paper to all clear glass doors. If you have low vision, this will help you determine whether the door is open or closed and prevent collisions.
- Avoid using glass-topped coffee or end tables. The edges are extremely difficult to see, making bumping injuries more likely if you have low vision.
- Mark the important settings on the dials of the stove, washer, dryer, and other appliances using brightly colored tape.
- Mark the outer edge of all indoor and outdoor stairs. Use a strip of paint or non-skid material in a color that contrasts with the rest of the step. The strip should extend about two inches from the edge -- both horizontally and vertically -- and should go across the full width of the step. This reduces the chances of tripping or falling on the stairs if you have low vision.
- Separate clothes according to color and then use labeled dividers to identify them.