What is Low Vision and What Can be Done for it?

By Kindred Healthcare

Low vision is a loss of eyesight that cannot be corrected with medicine, surgery or glasses. It can make everyday tasks difficult, such as dressing, cooking, bathing and participating in hobbies, such as gardening, knitting or reading.

Low vision is typically caused by an eye disease, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or retinitis pigmentosa. An eye exam with an ophthalmologist or optometrist can confirm a suspicion of a low vision diagnosis.

What is Low Vision and What Can be Done for it? There are numerous ways to adjust to life with low vision.

 

  • Improve lighting with extra lamps, or penlights or flashlights when even more light is needed
  • Move chairs closer to the TV and select seats in the front few rows at movie theaters or performances
  • Use a magnifier when necessary to read
  • Listen to audiobooks as a substitution for reading
  • Use tactile stickers or raised markers to label clothing or household items
  • De-clutter hallways and commonly used areas to make the home a safe environment

When patients suffer vision loss, it places a burden not only on them but on their caregivers. Professional caregivers can assist through what is called Respite Care, or care for the caregiver. According to Kate Uriz, Certified Senior Adviser with Kindred at Home, “The professional caregiver can assist by doing things with [the patient] that the [family member] is primarily doing, such as assisting with bathing and dressing. Additionally, the caregiver can help with daily tasks including meal preparation, light housekeeping, and laundry so that [the family caregiver] is able to take time for herself.”

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