Low-Vision Accommodations in Your Home
Reduced vision can be caused by many things. These include macular degeneration and glaucoma.
When you can't see as well, daily life can be more challenging. But you can do some things to stay independent and keep doing the activities you enjoy.
- Point lighting at what you want to see. Don't point it at your eyes.
- Add lamps where you need extra lighting.
- Use curtains or shades to adjust how much natural light there is.
- Use good lighting in places where you could easily fall. These include entries and stairways.
- Label things that are hard to recognize or that could be confusing. This might include medicines, spices, and foods. Use black letters on a white background. Or you can color-code the items.
- Mark the positions of the temperature settings you use the most on your stove and oven. Also mark the "on" and "off" positions.
- Mark the water temperatures you use on faucets in the kitchen and bathroom. To prevent overfilling a sink or bathtub, use waterproof markers or tape to mark the water level you want.
Avoid falls in your home
- Replace or remove any worn carpeting. Tape down or remove area rugs.
- Do not wax your floors. Use nonskid, nonglare cleaners on smooth floors.
- Remove electrical cords from areas where you need to walk. Or tape them down so you won't trip on them.
- Make sure furniture doesn't stick out into areas where you walk. Keep chairs pushed in under tables and desks. Keep all drawers closed.
- Keep doors fully opened or fully closed. Don't leave them halfway open or shut.
- Use handrails on stairways and ramps. Make sure that they go beyond the top and bottom steps. Then you won't stumble if you miss a step.
Use helpful technology
- Use a magnifying lens. You can buy ones that you hold. Or you can buy ones that attach to glasses. Some have lights built in.
- If your budget allows, you may want to think about a video magnifier system. These systems can make print, pictures, or other items bigger on a screen.
- If you have a computer:
- Try to adjust the display. You can often change how big the text and pictures appear. Then they will be easier to see and read.
- You may want to try special software. Some software can recognize spoken commands or change dictated speech into text. Other software allows computers to speak text and read documents.
- Use large-print items. These include books, newspapers, magazines, and medicine labels. You can also listen to recordings of books.
- Think about using devices made for people with low vision. Examples are clocks and watches that announce the time. There are also clocks, telephones, and calculators with extra-large buttons.
Be safe while you stay active
- Ask your doctor what physical activities are safe for you. If you bend, lift things, or move fast, it may affect your health or vision.
- Ask a friend to read you the instructions for a new exercise and to check your technique.
- Walk with someone who can help look for things that may be a danger.
- If you swim laps, use a pool that has ropes between the lanes.
Current as of: October 12, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology