Not to be confused with blindness, low vision is a condition that is not correctable by surgery, medication or various eye wear like glasses or contact lenses. Symptoms of low vision can include blurred vision, tunnel vision, blind spots or partial sight.
Low vision, though it can potentially affect anyone of any age, it is a condition most associated with the elderly. This condition can be caused by a number of diseases and vision conditions such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts. It can also be caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
Living with low vision doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life. Some simple lifestyle changes will help make the most of your remaining vision. If you or a loved one suffers from low vision, know that there are ways around it. Nothing is impossible.
We have six easy changes to your daily life that will help you to live a more comfortable life with your low vision.
1. Bright Colors
With low vision, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate objects of the same or similar colors. For example, doing something as simple as, finding a white light switch on a white wall can be almost impossible to do. But with the use of a colorful light switch cover, finding it won’t be nearly as difficult.
Brightly colored tape can also help prevent staircase incidents. By placing pieces one both the top step and bottom step, you’ll know exactly where to stop. This same technic can be used in the kitchen with knives. Place a piece of tape on the dull part of the blade to avoid accidentally cutting yourself with the sharp end.
Bright colors don’t need to be limited to pieces of tape. Have fun and get creative with your furniture! Take this opportunity to get rid of that old ratty couch and spruce up your home with a funky new couch.
2. Additional Lighting in Your Home
No one experiences low vision in the same way or to the same degree, but adding some more light to your home will benefit everyone with low vision. More light doesn’t necessarily mean brighter lights.
The trick here is to experiment. Extremely bright LED lights may be harsh on some people’s eye, but may be the only light others are able to see in. Test out different light sources and find which works best for you.
Additional lighting in places like the kitchen or living room, where you’re doing activities that require a higher level of sight may benefit from brighter lighting. On the other hand, the bed room may not need the same brightness.
3. Organize and Eliminate Clutter
Organizing your home and tossing out anything you don’t need will save you a lot of stressful days of trying to locate a certain item but not remembering what drawer it’s in. If you organize drawers and shelves so that there’s a method to it, finding that sweater will be easier than if you had to rifle through every drawer to find it.
While you’re at it, you might as well get rid of a bunch of stuff. We all hoard things, mostly with the thought that a certain piece of junk will someday be of some value again. The truth is it’s worthless. There’s a rule of thumb that if you haven’t used or worn something in the past eight months, just get rid of it!
As you organize, label things with a thick permanent marker. This is great in case you’re like me and have the memory of a goldfish and will be great for quickly finding whatever it is you’re looking for.
4. Magnifying Glasses and eReaders
Reading is one of the most beautiful things you can do in this life. It opens up a world of adventure, knowledge and news. It would be a shame to have to give it up, so it’s a good thing you don’t have to.
If you’re having trouble reading the small print in your books, consider trading in those paperbacks for an eReader. eReaders are great for those with low vision because you have the option to make the size of the writing as big or as small as you want. A tablet with an eReader app will do just fine as well.
If you’re having a little trouble making the leap from those beautifully bound books to a cold screen, there’s a solution for you too. Try a magnifying glass! Various degrees of magnification are available. Test a few magnifying lenses out on your favorite book and pick which one works best.
5. Ask for Help
This one seems easy, but it isn’t. Everyone has trouble asking for help every once in a while. Losing a little independence to low vision doesn’t mean you have to be dependent. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs help, low vision or not. Your friends, family, doctors, and neighbors are all willing to help if you just ask for it.
If you’re feeling a little insecure about your new low vision, reach out to others whom are going through a similar situation. There’s a certain comfort in knowing you’re not alone.
6. Find a Buddy
On that note, if you find your low vision to be debilitating or don’t trust yourself yet to do things on your own, find a buddy. Find someone who can provide some assistance at least until you are comfortable and confident enough with your vision to be able to take on daily tasks for yourself.
Learning to live with low vision takes lots practice and lots of patience. The transition between your previous vision to your new low vision can be difficult. It will take time to get used to, but there are ways to comfortably live with low vision without giving up the things you love.
Keep the confidence up, apply these tips to your new life and you’ll be happier than ever.