Overcoming low vision with assistive devices

Several million Americans have low vision , which is not the same as nearsightedness or farsightedness. Ophthalmologists define low vision as visual impairment that can’t be overcome by the usual vision restoration approaches. In other words, eyeglasses, contact lenses and eye surgery aren’t enough to restore vision. Unfortunately, it isn’t yet possible to reverse low vision. You may receive a physician referral to a specialist at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, who can help you adapt to your impairment.

Using assistive devices
An occupational therapist can help you learn how to use assistive devices that will allow you to overcome visual impairment. There is a range of battery-powered, illuminated magnifiers available in various sizes and strengths.

Another option is a self-focusing telescope. This device is worn much like eyeglasses are. Your occupational therapist may recommend an optical reader, which projects a magnified image of a document onto a screen.

Making lifestyle modifications
There are many low-tech changes you can make to your daily life to make tasks easier. For entertainment, consider the following:

  • TV remote control with oversized buttons
  • Large-print books
  • Audiobooks
  • TV screen magnifiers

You can also use ordinary objects found around a typical home to help you handle daily tasks. Use brightly colored craft paint to help you find the 425 degree setting on your oven. Wrap skillet and pot handles with brightly colored tape.

If you take two different medications, put a rubber band around one of the pill bottles. This will let you distinguish between them. You can also ask your pharmacist about pill bottle labels with large print.

Use contrasting colors to help you see everyday objects more clearly. Use white coffee mugs, for instance, to contrast with the dark color of the coffee. Add a vivid tablecloth to your coffee table to stop yourself from bumping into it.

Every patient with low vision has unique challenges, and they can be frustrating at times. Let your vision rehabilitation specialist or occupational therapist know what’s problematic for you. They’ll help you find effective solutions for your visual challenges .

Here at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, your health, safety and quality of life are our highest priorities. Our team of specialists, which includes occupational therapists , will do everything possible to help you live life well. Call a registered nurse at our hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 233-5300.

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