When living with a visual impairment, finding strategies for maximizing your remaining vision is one of the keys to increasing independence and self-sufficiency. Magnification devices, good task lighting, and diminishing glare are three ways to accomplish that.
Making things bigger is one way to compensate for losing some of your visual field. Many magnification tools, including hand, stand, and video magnifiers, are available. When combined with good lighting, these devices can help you read, identify items, assist with personal care needs, and much more.
While many stores and pharmacies sell magnifiers, these over-the-counter products generally provide only minimal magnification. Most people with a visual impairment need a stronger, better-quality device with a built-in light to achieve their goals.
As part of an evaluation with one of our low vision specialists, we can help you determine the most helpful level of magnification, the best devices to achieve your particular goals, and the proper method for using these devices.
Glare generally results from light entering your eye and obstructing your vision. As we age, it may take longer for our eyes to adjust to changes in light. In addition, having cataracts, which fog the eye’s lens, or retinal diseases, such as macular degeneration, can worsen glare’s effects.
Wearing tinted glasses indoors and good quality sun shields outdoors can filter out light, helping you to have crisper and clearer vision. There is a rainbow of different colored tints in various strengths, including gray, plum, orange, yellow, and brown. Similar to evaluating the proper magnification devices, meeting with a low vision specialist can help you assess the most helpful color(s) and tint strengths.
For most people with a visual impairment, the light that streams through a window or comes from ceiling, floor, and table lamps is not particularly helpful for seeing things because it is designed to light a large area or to create ambiance.
Devices that allow you to focus a light beam directly on what you are trying to see – with the device placed on the side of your better eye – will help you maximize your remaining vision. We highly recommend adjustable gooseneck lamps, both tabletop and floor models. A small flashlight you can easily carry – or using the one built into your smartphone – will also be helpful in restaurants and other dimly lit spaces.
Battery-operated LED lights that can be easily installed in stairways, closets, and under kitchen cabinets also help increase safety and independence by lighting up typically dim spaces.
Low Vision Evaluations
Our staff can provide you with a complete evaluation of potential magnification, glare control, and lighting devices as a part of a low vision evaluation. This consultation is covered by health insurance. Call us at (401) 941-3322 to schedule an appointment or complete the secure form below.