Low vision is severe vision loss that cannot be improved with corrective lenses. Low vision can be caused by conditions including glaucoma, diabetes, and age-related macular degeneration. February is not only Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, it is also Low Vision Awareness Month, so let’s explore some aids that can help you see clearly if you are affected by low vision.
E-readers and Audio Books
Age-related macular degeneration affects central vision, which makes even large print books difficult to read. Electronic readers allow you to customize your font, type size and contrast so you can continue to read those best sellers. If you would rather listen to a book, try a subscription to an audio book website or check out your favorite audio books at the library.
Using voice commands on smartphones or smart home systems, you can check the weather, get the news, control your lights or make a phone call. There are also computers, watches, timers, blood pressure cuffs and blood sugar machines that communicate data through sound instead of numbers and images.
Large Buttons and Contrasting Colors
Having low vision can make it difficult to use telephones, thermostats and remote controls. Look for devices with large-sized numbers and buttons and high-contrast colors to help you use these everyday necessities more efficiently.
Magnifiers and Lights
With magnification and brighter lighting, you may still be able to read, sew, complete a crossword puzzle or read a hand-written note. Consider using a magnifier on a stand, hand-held magnifier or reading glasses. You may also find it helpful to replace your light bulbs with higher wattage bulbs and add more lamps in darker areas of your home (source: American Academy of Ophthalmology).
Do not let age-related macular degeneration and low vision limit your independence. Talk to your ophthalmologist for more visual aids and tips to manage low vision. The best way to maintain your eye health and prevent vision loss is to schedule your yearly eye exams.