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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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).
• 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.
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