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Living with Vision Loss

Vision loss and blindness are caused by many conditions. The level of a person’s vision can change depending on their general health, weather conditions, and lighting. By looking at someone, you can’t tell how much they see.

Below we have outline some handy tips for living with vision loss.

Handy Tips Living With Vision Loss- text beneath

Infographic outlining handy tips for living with vision loss

Every person is different, responding to their vision loss and blindness in different ways. Vision can affect acuity (clarity of vision), visual fields (volume of vision) or both, depending on the cause of vision loss.

Each person will have their own unique experience of their vision impairment.

Whilst most people who are vision impaired are quite capable and independent, below are some simple tips and tricks to assist with daily living.

Everyone is an individual.  Get to know your vision strengths and weaknesses and work around these.

  • Reduce your risk of falling – think about your shoes and wear shoes that are suitable for what you are doing.
  • Modify your environment to reduce falls risks.  Try painting a contrasting and non-slip strip on the front edge of your steps.
  • If you find uneven sections of footpath, report them to Council, so they can be fixed.
  • Reduce glare as it can affect vision quality.  Try a hat and some good sunglasses that cut out glare or UV light.
  • Review your home lighting.  Light shades and different light bulbs can make a big difference.
  • Develop your own strategies for changing light conditions. Try a chair near the door so you have somewhere to sit whilst your eyes adjust.
  • Don’t rush – allow yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going.
  • Plan ahead – get organised before the bus arrives.
  • Try to cross the road where you can see and be seen.
  • Where possible, cross at lights so that you get a defined break in traffic.
  • Be aware of cars pulling into driveways; cross from the side not the middle of the driveway.
  • Think about where and when you go out.  It can be less busy and easier to travel outside peak times.
  • If you use a long cane, check the tip regularly. If your tip has a point, it’s time to change!
  • Bald tires on a car and worn tips on a support cane are bad because they don’t grip in the wet. Does your tip still have sufficient tread?

Other information to remember includes:

Keep things organised:

  • Keep items in designated places
  • If people assist with cleaning, ensure you inform them to keep items in the same place or inform you if they are moved
  • Label items with a bold and contrasting pen
  • Colour code items
  • Organise your wallet using the different compartments
  • Use a note organiser to discriminate different denomination of notes
  • Use a coin holder to organise $1 and $2 coins

Lighting and Glare Reduction:

  • Good lighting improves visibility for people with low vision
  • When reading material held in front of you, use a bright lamp with flexible neck cast over the shoulder to maximally illuminate your reading area
  • Fluorescent globes although energy efficient do not illuminate rooms instantly as they take about a minute to reach maximal brightness. Cheaper model fluorescent bulbs conserve their lifespan by gradually emitting less luminance over time. Users can get used to this gradual dimming of luminance which is counterproductive for a person living with low vision
  • Consider changing to LED fittings which are extremely energy efficient and cost effective over the long term. These bulbs emit instant and constant luminance over their lifespan which can extend to 10 years or more
  • consider using a torch when travelling out at night
  • Install good outdoor lighting or perhaps sensor lighting and position in areas where there may be level changes such as steps
  • attach a small key ring torch to your keys to make insertion of the key into the lock easier to see at night
  • to reduce glare, position yourself with your back towards the window
  • consider using blinds or curtains to reduce glare where sun directly shines into rooms
  • wear good eye protection such as wrap around UV shields to cut out glare without limiting field of vision
  • wear a good wide brimmed hat to minimise direct sunlight from above when outdoors

Marking and Labelling Equipment:

  • Electronic equipment can be adapted to assist people living with low vision or blindness. Using raised contrasting puff paint can be very useful to assist with positioning of dials for a stove, microwave or washing machine
  • Using a big button telephone and big button mobile phone can be easier to assist with seeing the numbers when making calls
  • Using raised adhesive stickers such as adhesive Velcro or foam stickers can assist with marking buttons that are flat such as on a microwave. Puff paint or a blob of super glue can also assist in this area and will maintain adhesion to most smooth surfaces
  • Use iron and stick on barcodes labels in conjunction with a barcode reader to label items such as clothes and storage jars

Using Contrast:

  • Painting the edges of steps and uneven paved areas with contrasting paint draws attention to level changes
  • Contrast work surface colours with the activity or task at hand e.g. use a dark surfaced chopping board for cutting carrots
  • Use light coloured bowls on contrasting coloured placemats
  • Contrast edges such as doorways, skirting, corners, table tops and shelves
  • Choose contrasting furniture to flooring