Empowering Tools for Your Patients With Low Vision

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When your patients discover they AMD, they may be overwhelmed and confused. They may worry about what their futures will bring, and they fear the loss of their eyesight. As a medical professional, you want to help them achieve the best quality of life while they experience this change. You can help relief some of their concerns by sharing a few tips to make the transition less difficult. Provide some of the following suggestions to make independent living simpler.

Sunglasses

Your patients are susceptible to glare and light. Wearing a pair of anti-glare sunglasses and a visor can improve their ventures into the world.

Driving

Your patients may lose the ability to drive. Remind them that companies exist to help them get to their desired destination. Giving individuals the ability to travel increases independence and lessens depression.

  • Rides in Sight assists with transportation options. Call 1-855-607-4337 or visit their webpage at https://www.ridesinsight.org.
  • Recommend a ride share option or suggest Uber or Lyft.
  • In some areas, public transportation is available to accommodate the visually-impaired riders.

Home Safety

Having an orderly home environment is imperative when adjusting to vision issues. Clearing out the clutter can make it safer for you to get around. Make sure that the most-frequented areas are clear of footpath debris. And remember being able to locate items easily helps make the day better. Who wants to waste time searching for their keys, phones, and other important items.

Stairway Alterations

Stairs can be difficult to master for those with vision problems. Suggest a few changes to make ambulation less dangerous. Preventing falls is important for anyone, so this can help the whole household.

  • In order to help manage mobility, stairs can be taped on the edges to illustrate where they are.
  • Handrails can be installed in the home for easier stair use.
  • Also, making sure that lighting is bright on stairs enables the visually-impaired to get around more easily.

Lighting Improvements

  • Make sure that light switches and outlets are highlighted, perhaps with colorful duct tape.
  • Lights should be brighter and can be placed in shadowy areas, like closets and basements.

Trackers

Even without vision problems, we lose our keys and useful items. Many trackers have been developed to illuminate where we’ve forgotten them. Apps on computers or phones can be installed to locate them, just by emitting a confirmation beeping noise.

  • Tile trackers can be inserted into pockets or wallets.
  • Key trackers can be attached to key chains.

Although your patient has vision loss, he or she does not need to stop favorite activities. Companies have released many assistive-technologies to make their lives fuller and inclusive.

Reading

If your clients are having difficulty reading, they have many options available to continue their literary ventures.

  • Hand-held magnifiers are quite simple and can also be illuminated with LED lights. MagniPros and iMagniphy are two of the less expensive options for magnifying glasses. 
  • Large print books are available to keep them actively reading.
  • Suggest they use magnifying lights on their desks or to help them with tasks such as knitting. https://www.toptenselect.com/top-10-best-magnifying-lights/
  • Desktop video magnifiers can serve as an excellent tool for your patients. https://nelowvision.com/2017/03/29/top-10-low-vision-aids-for-macular-degeneration-amd-for-2017/
  • Most digital devices have a zoom feature. Make sure that your patients realize they can enlarge the type on their computers and the fonts on their screens.
  • Many computer screen readers are available for free. Some of the software is NVDA, Serotek System Access, AppleVoiceOver, ORCA, BRLTTY, Emacspeak, Spoken Web, ChromeVox, ChromeVis, and WebAnywhere.

Phones

One of the difficulties with losing one’s sight is the overwhelming sense of aloneness. Your patient needs to keep connected to others, and owning a fitting telephone can definitely help.

  • Having phones with larger buttons is helpful if you are suffering from vision loss.
  • Also, putting numbers into speed dial can make it simpler to get hold of family member, important contacts and emergency services.

Talking Tools

Many daily tools are available with speech mode.

  • Talking calculators, watches, clocks, medication alarm systems are all available.
  • If your patients like to bake, point them toward talking measuring cups, talking food cans, talking liquid jugs, and even talking microwave ovens. See them here https://assistech.com/store/talking-kitchen-aids
  • People can adjust their SMART thermostat via vocal control to make their homes toasty warm or cool in the summer.
  • Most importantly, your clients may purchase talking smoke detectors to ensure their home safety from carbon monoxide, smoke, and fire.

Board Games

Entertainment is still a part of the lives of your visually-impaired clientele. They can remain active in their favorite hobbies.

  • Did you know that Scrabble, Chess, Checkers and Monopoly have been adapted for the visually-impaired?
  • Dice and dominoes have been made with tactile dots.
  • Low-vision Bingo cards have been developed.
  • Also, talking globes have been created to assist with geography lessons!

Smart Speakers

You can connect your home to smart speakers (Alexa, Amazon Echo or Google Home, for example) to relay messages around the house or play your favorite music. You can also access information quickly by simply asking a question.

Peer Support

Finding a support group is quite helpful for your patients. They are transitioning, and having others to speak with who are going through a similar change can allow them to understand that they are not alone. Also, they can obtain resources through those who have progressed already through the beginning stages of vison loss. Depression is common for those losing sight; let them know they are not on their own.

Medical Professional Support

You can refer your patients to specialists in low vision. Also, your clients may need to find a licensed therapist or counselor. You may want to point them in the direction of the local Area Agency on Aging for questions they may have and helpful community resources.

Help your patients maintain their sense of self-control and self-efficacy during this very frightful time in their lives. Remember the whole of the person and their place in the world. Enable them keep their lives in sight!

Further information can also be obtained through the following resources:

AMD.org

American Foundation for the Blind

Macular Degeneration Association

Macular Degeneration Support

VisionAware Support Groups

TeleSupport – monthly group support sessions via telephone

International Low Vision Support Group

PreventBlindness.org

Bureau of Services for Blind Persons

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Viteyes® not only specializes in eye supplements, we are also committed to providing you with the latest education information about eye health and how we can help everyone have a Vision For Life™.