These 11 tips will help you maintain your independence despite visual impairment.

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1. Make what you want to see larger – there are 3 types of magnification:

  • Relative distance magnification – object is brought closer to the eye (i.e. sit closer to the television)
  • Relative size magnification – object is made larger (i.e. large print books, large print checks, larger television)
  • Angular magnification – object is not changed in position or size, but an optical system is placed between the object and the eye making the object appear larger (i.e. hand magnifier, telescope, electronic magnification)
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2. Increase task illumination

  • Use gooseneck lamps, flashlights and illuminated magnifiers
  • Use task lamps and daylight bulbs
  • Bring lighting within one foot of print
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3. Decrease glare – glare can further reduce vision and cause eye fatigue

  • Decrease glare from lighting, windows and the sun
  • Using amber or yellow tints cut glare and enhance contrast
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4. Enhance contrast between what you want to see and its surroundings – most people with visual impairment see better if objects are black and white (i.e. a white coffee mug offers more contrast to the coffee)

  • Do not use heavily decorated plates
  • Do not use clear glasses or dishes
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5. Make sure you are using the correct magnification product and product power for the task – not all magnifiers are the same

  • Using the wrong power magnifier will result in failure
  • Have your eye doctor prescribe the correct magnifier, eyeglasses or telescope for reading or for a specific task
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6. Learn to use your magnification products correctly – this takes practice and patience!

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7. Low vision glasses or products are often task specific – you may need more than one low vision aid to accomplish all tasks

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8. Learn to use your eyes more efficiently – learn to use a more peripheral part of the retina to see more clearly

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9. Substitute ears for eyes

  • Get books and magazines on tape for free from the talking book library
  • Use talking watches, clocks, calculators, scales, glucometers and computer software
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10. Be your own advocate

  • Tell friends you are visually impaired and ask that they introduce themselves
  • Ask for large print menus
  • Get large print checks from your bank
  • Become familiar with community resources such as support groups, transportation services, aging services
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11. Do not become dependent on others – learn to use low vision aids and learn to do things differently in order to become independent

Content contributed by Lynne P. Noon, OD, FAAO, Diplomate in Low Vision Rehabilitation, ViewFinder, www.ViewFinderLowVision.com

TIPS FROM THE MVRF COMMUNITY

If there’s something you do that makes life a little easier and you don’t see here, please let us know by contacting Lynn Rinaldi, SupportSightSM Program Manager at lynn@mvrf.org or 1-866-4-MACULA and we’ll add it to our list!

HOME SAFETY

  • Wear shoes with good traction
  • Try to limit use of area rugs, as they can be tripping hazards
  • Install additional lighting in stairwells
  • Use night lights
  • Put flashlights throughout your home in case of a power outage

HOME OFFICE

  • Get different colored and different sized bins to hold paperclips, rubber bands, pens and 20/20 pens
  • Try to use auto-pay for all of your utilities and bills

TRAVELING

  • Put a bright colored strap around your luggage for easy identification at the baggage carousel
  • If you’re on vacation, ask the hotel staff for a tour of facilities so that you are better acquainted with your surroundings

HOUSEHOLD TASKS

  • Mark the dials on your washer and dryer for easier use
  • Pin your socks together before you put them in the wash, so you don’t have to worry about matching them afterwards
  • Consider getting an OTT light, useful for many different tasks at home
  • Use a tape recorder instead of a pad and pen — You can just record your to-do list and grocery list and play it back whenever you need to
  • Hang all of the clothing items that make an outfit on the same hanger, it’ll be much easier to dress in morning

PERSONAL GROOMING

  • Place a bright colored sponge in the bathtub to use as a marker for the water level
  • Put your shampoo and conditioner in differently sized and shaped bottles so you don’t mix them up as easily
  • Install safety bars in your shower stall