You don't see as well as you used to. Eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy may be making it hard to work and manage many of your daily activities. But don't give up. There are lots of things you can do to adapt to low vision and make your life easier and safer.
To keep doing the things you enjoy, you will want to make a few changes to your lifestyle. The changes you need to make depend on how much vision you have lost, what kinds of activities you like to do, and your current lifestyle. Making changes may seem difficult and time-consuming, but be patient. You can keep your independence and continue the activities you enjoy.
Some simple changes can help you use your remaining vision to its full potential and allow you to live as independently as possible. Here are some keys to success.
Make simple changes
These are a few ideas on how to make living with low vision easier and safer. For more ideas, see a low-vision rehabilitation specialist.
Contrast helps your eyes to distinguish objects and their surroundings based on differences in brightness or color, rather than shape or location. If you have low vision, you may need more light to be able to distinguish objects with similar brightness or color (low contrast).
Label and mark
Avoid potential hazards
Learning to use low-vision aids and adaptive technologies may help you make the best use of your remaining vision.
Low-vision aids are special lenses or electronic systems that make images appear larger, such as:
If your low vision is caused by diabetes, some aids that may help you include:
Adaptive technology is used in devices or products that may not help you see better but can make life easier and safer. Many are designed to help you perform common tasks that may be harder when you have impaired vision. Examples include:
Some of these measures are easy to build into your life. Others require big changes in the way that you do things at home, at work, or elsewhere. Some measures, such as computer programs or electronic systems, can be costly or may take time to learn to use properly. You will need to decide which ones will work best for you. If you are legally blind, you may be able to get help through your state's Commission for the Blind.
It's important to stay active for your health. But first ask your doctor what physical activities are safe for you to do. If you bend, lift things, or move fast, it may affect your health or vision. After you know whether or not you need to avoid any activities, find some things that you like to do and make them as safe as possible. For example:
Having low vision can lead to losing your ability to drive. It's hard to give up the convenience of going where you want whenever you want. But you don't have to be homebound. You have options for getting around safely.
There are many resources to help you meet the challenges of living with reduced vision and keep your quality of life.
Seek counseling, rehabilitation, and training
Look for low-vision specialists and groups and agencies that offer counseling, training, and other special services related to vision loss. Low-vision rehabilitation specialists can give you detailed practical information and training on managing your household and other activities of daily life that can be more challenging when you have low vision. These specialists can also help you find ways to cope with low vision in the workplace. Specialists may include:
Build your personal support network
There are many resources available to help you overcome the challenges of living with low vision, to make the best use of the vision you do have, and to keep your quality of life. Your family and friends, as well as your health care and social services professionals, can help you.
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