People with low vision experience difficulties performing daily tasks, such as cooking, shopping, reading, and personal care. Just brushing your teeth can be challenging when you have vision loss. February is Low Vision Awareness Month, and Dr. George Khouri at Palm Beach Eye Center wants you to know there are many ways to lead a full life with vision impairment.
Low vision is often caused by macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. These eye diseases cause permanent vision loss, and patients have no choice but to live with their diminished eyesight. Keeping a clean home, eating, and finding or keeping a job can be hard for this population, but these tips can help.
1. Increase Contrast
Use contrasting colors where possible in your home, such as white plates on a dark tablecloth or arranging your closet with white items next to black or blue pieces. Label everything with contrasting colors, stickers of different shapes, or large, bold print so you can tell which pill bottle is which and can find your soap and shampoo containers in the shower. Make sure you label the remote, microwave, and oven buttons so you can find the channel or setting you’re looking for and consider carrying a magnification device with you.
2. Make Text and Photos Larger
Your computer and smart devices have accessibility features that enlarge print, zoom in on documents, and read highlighted areas, calendar events, texts, or emails aloud. Large display screens and enlarged watches can help you view these screens more easily. Your local library has large print books you may check out to still enjoy reading, or you may want a magnification device that enlarges printed text.
3. Get and Stay Organized
Losing your house keys, phone, or other commonly used items is more difficult when living with low vision. You can’t do a quick search high and low for whatever you’re missing any longer. Organize your home so items are in their proper places that you can reach and find easily. Make sure you put things away as you use them so you can grab them the next time you need them.
4. Rearrange Your Home to Reduce Fall and Trip Hazards
People living with low vision have a higher risk of tripping and falling. Add more lighting so you can see obstacles, especially around stairs. Move area rugs to ensure the corners do not flip up and trip you, and rearrange your furniture to allow more space to move through your home. These actions can reduce your risk of injury.
5. Seek Mental Health Support
Low vision steals your independence and makes you rely on others, especially getting to and from appointments, grocery stores, and running other errands. You must develop your own tricks and methods for everyday activities and tasks. Be easy on yourself and find a support system or mental health team that can help you process the complex feelings that come with losing some of these freedoms. It’s easy to isolate yourself and fall into depression when living with low vision. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Contact Palm Beach Eye Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, to schedule an eye exam and consultation with Dr. Khouri. We offer treatments and support for patients with eye diseases and vision loss. Call our office at (561) 366-8300 or request an appointment online.