Home Modification Suggestions for Low Vision

Media Type

Info Sheet

Reviewed Date

May 6, 2018


Simple and easy adjustments can be made to help people with low vision in day to day activities. Many of these are low to no cost solutions.

Improve Lighting
• Use light bulbs at least 60 –100 watts.
• Add more light, for example use clamp–on lamps.
• Use task lighting such as flexible table or floor lamps instead of overhead lighting.
• Bring light closer to the task.
• Place light behind and to the side of the stronger eye (without casting a shadow).
• Experiment with different types of lighting used, such as halogen, fluorescent, incandescent or flood lighting. Be aware, however, that fluorescent lighting can cause glare for some individuals.
• Increase contrasts (see section below).
• Use a flashlight or Mag–light on a key chain.

Reduce Glare
• Place lighting source over your shoulder (behind you and to your side without casting a shadow).
• Try incandescent, Chromalux™, or indoor floodlight bulbs, rather than fluorescent bulbs if they cause glare.
• Use filters, such as blinds or sheer curtains.
• Wear sunglasses (wrap–around) and/or hats outdoors.

Increase Contrasts
• On stairs, use bright–colored tape, bright–colored nail polish, or fabric paint such as Hi–Mark™ to mark handles or knobs of appliances and lines on measuring cups.
• Use solid–color place mats under dishes (i.e. black mat under white mugs), or use colored napkins under dishes.
• Outline switches/knobs that are painted white with dark tape, or paint light switches.
• Use black felt–tip pens when writing.
• Paint ceiling a different color from the wall.
• Place dark–colored cushions against light–colored chairs.
• Place bright–colored fluorescent or dark–colored tape on stair edges and at doorways.
• Minimize patterns – plain background is better than a print or other pattern.

Reduce Necessary Reading
• Label bottles with first letter of name of item and re–use bottle.
• Label hangers for clothing.
• Label dials with tape (on/off) and have a large diagram showing dial settings.
• Use large–numbered devices (telephone, timers, calculators, etc).
• Place Velcro on dials and buttons for a tactile cue.
• Use reflective letters/stickers on bottles.
• Place rubber bands on certain cans (i.e. all soup cans).

Organize Environment
• Safety pin socks of the same color when laundering, or use mesh laundry bags to keep socks together.
• Use closet organizers/dividers to separate types of clothing.
• Place dividers in drawers or separate clothes in various drawers.
• Place safety pins in clothing of the same color (i.e. on all black pants). Label clothing with letter of clothing color on the tag.
• Develop a system to keep food/toiletry articles organized (i.e. all baking spices on the left side of the shelf).
• Educate family members on need to respect your organizational system.

Improve Efficiency and Safety
• Purchase pre–cut or ready–to–eat food items.
• Squirt toothpaste into mouth instead of on toothbrush.
• Use an electric razor.
• Use toaster oven or microwave for cooking instead of the stove.
• Keep floors dry – Wipe up all spills immediately.
• Map out routes ahead of time with someone (i.e. count number of stops on bus before destination).
• Ask for assistance when entering a bus, cab or train. For example, state destination and ask how many stops.
• When walking, line yourself up with the edge of the sidewalk.
• Use safety rails whenever possible.
• Feel for end of rail at bottom or top of stairs and go slowly.
• Cross streets at lights only.
• Mark step edges with yellow reflective tape or use plastic non–slip edging to prevent falls.
• Pick up all clutter from floors.
• Remove throw rugs or place double–sided tape on rug backing to secure.

Use Aids for Increasing Ease of Writing, Reading and Money Handling
• Check writing guides
• Signature guides
• Large print checks ordered from the bank
• Felt tip markers on white paper or 20/20 high contrast pens
• Magnifiers or magnifying lights
• Wallet organizers
• Enlarged key calculators
• Large button telephones
• Reading guides
• Book holders
• Follow guidelines in section above for improving lighting and reducing glare.

Increase Ease of Watching Television
• Sit closer to the television; this will not damage your eyes.
• Purchase a larger screen television and/or high–definition television.

Increase Comfort and Independence When Eating
• Use bowls for loose food.
• Request easy – to – eat foods.
• Move hands around plate and table discreetly when first sitting down at the table.
• Eat loose foods first; push loose foods toward stationary foods.
• Turn plate so meat to cut is at six o'clock position.
• Cut around the fork–keep the fork stationary.
• Shake salt/pepper into your hand first, before applying to food.
• Avoid loose–fitting clothing to avoid spilling on clothing.

Mogk, LG, Mogk, M. Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight. Ballantine Books, 2003.


This content is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice of a physician or other health care professional. Reliance on this site's content is solely at your own risk. Shirley Ryan AbilityLab disclaims any liability for injury or damages resulting from the use of any site content. © Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). Henry B. Betts LIFE Center – (312) 238-5433 –


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Home Modification Suggestions for Low Vision


Pamela Wesner

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