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Tips for Coping with Low Vision



As we age, our body naturally goes through changes and things may not work as well as they did in our youth; many older individuals experience issues with eyesight and they may need to get glasses or make sure they have a bit of extra lighting to see properly, but for the most part, life goes on as it has been. But, for some people, eye conditions such as macular degeneration can affect vision to a point that significantly impacts the quality of life and may even compromise safety.  If low vision is causing difficulty in your day to day living, here are some tips to cope.


Not being able to see properly can surely compromise safety—an increased risk of falls is a major concern for older individuals. As far as glasses go, you might consider wearing single-vision ones as opposed to multi-focal lenses. Research suggests wearing the latter may increase the risk of falls because to utilize the near-vision portion of the glasses to see something on the ground, you need to lower your head, which means you are not seeing a lot of things around you that may lead to a fall. Install night lights in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and hallways to make it easier to walk around in the dark. Use bright strips of tape or some other material to identify the edges of stairs. Paint light switches and door frames different colors than the surrounding walls. Get rid of clutter to reduce the risk of falls and other accidents.


Low vision can present a number of problems when it comes to food preparation; here are some tips to make it a bit easier. If you frequently prepare the same types of products, such as a specific cake mix, write down the directions in large print or record them so they are always handy. Measure smaller amounts of liquid with an eye-dropper—it holds about a teaspoon. You can use syringes available at medical supply stores for larger measurements. Work out a way of labeling different items so you know what everything is.

For example, you may choose to wrap one rubber band around canned peas and two around the carrots; you can also use brightly colored stickers to identify different types of foods. Use different-sized containers to easily identify dry goods, such as flour and sugar. Cook and eat food in contrasting colors to make it easier to see—for example, if you are preparing a chocolate cake mix, use a white or another light-colored bowl.


Being more organized is beneficial to anyone, no matter how good their vision may be; but if you have low vision, it is doubly important to be able to easily find and identify different items to make day to day living flow a bit more smoothly. Label, label, label; labeling will be a good friend to you if you have low vision.

Place them on medications, cabinets, boxes, and anything else that you may not see well but need to know what it is or what is inside it. Rubber bands can also help distinguish between different items, such as your various medications or the shampoo and conditioner bottles. Develop a system for organizing food in your fridge, freezer, and pantry—for example, the top shelf in the pantry may be reserved for dry goods such as rice and pasta.