Visual impairment affects people of all ages and all walks of life. The American Foundation for the Blind defines visual impairment, often referred to as “low vision,” as any vision problem that is severe enough to affect an individual’s ability to carry out the tasks of everyday living. Millions of people have some degree of visual impairment that requires corrective lenses, and some still struggle even while wearing glasses or contact lenses.
People with low vision can experience difficulty performing daily activities, such as cooking, shopping, reading, watching television, and more. Some practical solutions can help people address changes in their vision.
• Use more light. After about age 60, many people require additional light to perform most indoor tasks as well as outdoor activities. After age 60, the pupil no longer opens as widely as it once did, which affects the amount of light that reaches the retina, where vision processing occurs. Brighten areas of the kitchen, garage, crafting table, and other areas where fine details are examined.
• Rely on darker contrasts. Contrasting colors can make it easier to see edges and lines of demarcation. For example, use a dark tablecloth and white dishes to see table settings and food more clearly.
• Label items. Bold-colored labels or those of different shapes can help set items apart when reading containers or boxes becomes challenging.
• Use filters and shields. Certain devices, such as lens filters and shields, can reduce glare and improve vision. Individuals also can invest in shields for their computers or tablet screens to reduce glare.
• Choose “large print” formats. At local booksellers, seek books that are available in large print. This makes it easier to enjoy reading.
• Switch bulbs at home. The eye care resource All About Vision suggests swapping fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs with warm-toned LED bulbs. These bulbs emit less blue light and can be more comforting with reduced glare.
• Invest in adaptive devices. Large-button phones with speed dial, large-print calendars, watches that speak the time, and digital home assistant devices also can help men and women overcome vision loss.
Low vision impacts daily living, but there are ways to counter the effects of impaired vision.